Editors Mark Feldman, Lawrence Friedman and Lawrence Brandt
Published by Elsevier Saunders
If there was a nomination for a blockbuster textbook of gastrointestinal and liver disease then this would surely be a leading candidate. It is certainly a blockbuster in terms of size and depth of coverage as well as high-quality content. The publisher’s website describes this 2 volume offering as “definitive” and “state of the art” and I have to say; it is difficult to disagree with this description. The two volumes are substantial and heavy and would certainly take up a lot of room in a bookshelf. Between this two volume set, there are over 2300 glossy pages packed full of up to date details, extensively covering this specialty and I mean extensive. This is clearly designed for a specialist though it would be a fantastic reference source for a GP whom I suspect would not need to look elsewhere. However unless a GP has a very special and detailed interest in this topic then it may be cost-effective to look elsewhere.
Now in its 10th edition, I think it is fair the editors and contributors have got this book just about right. It is an engaging, educational yet clinically orientated textbook which is relevant to modern clinical practice. In many respects, it is a traditional, heavy duty textbook but is firmly entrenched in the modern era. The content and production are of the highest quality (it has proper and well-built hardback cover) and is sturdily manufactured, so that it is designed for regular use in a personal or a departmental library. It is primarily an American based textbook although there are a few contributors from other countries. Even so, there is still plenty here to satisfy a global audience and you certainly get a huge, deeply and detailed review of the topic. There is massive depth here which covers a substantial amount of territory. This is more than just a resource to dip into and read relevant sections (though of course you can do), in order to read round a topic. It is a top-quality reference source rather than something to read from cover to cover. The book is very text driven but is well illustrated in colour and being text driven is a compliment to its depth of detail. On a number of occasions, I tried to catch it out but it never failed to deliver, as far as I was concerned.
Coming from the excellent Expert Consult stable of textbooks associated with this publisher then you also get a web version bundled with the price as well as app access on your tablet or mobile phone. If you wish to download this book onto your portable device via an app for off-line use, then be prepared – it is an 810 MB download. This could be potentially taking up a lot of space on your device and could be a problem if you have limited storage capacity. Conversely if you have the room and you are likely to refer to it regularly then this app could be a superb resource in its own right.
Choosing topics at random and reading about them brought home to me the excellence of this offering, as well as appreciating how big this specialty actually is. Of course such a premium product will attract a premium price and at over £200, this is not cheap. This is not a random or rapid purchase but requires some thought as it is a considerable investment. However if much of your professional life is plying your trade in this subject area then you may wish to give this serious consideration. If you are going to be a regular user, I suspect you will be very impressed and happy with this product.
Dr Harry Brown