Edited by J. Larry Jameson, Anthony Fauci, Dennis Kasper, Stephen Hauser, Dan Longo and Joseph Loscalzo
20th edition published 2018
ISBN for ebook 9781259644047
Published by McGraw Hill
This book is without doubt in the premier league of general medical textbooks and has been around for a long time and it has definitely matured with age. Interestingly, one of the editors Anthony Fauci has achieved international stardom due to his high profile and being advisor to Presidents and currently is the chief medical advisor to the current US President and has his own large Wikipedia entry page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Fauci
Mind you so has the book itself, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison%27s_Principles_of_Internal_Medicine and from this I have learnt that it was first published in 1950. Looking through the extensive list of contributors, the majority come from the United States. However, that should not detract from the usefulness of this excellent textbook to a global audience. There is plenty to offer healthcare professionals all over the world.
I reviewed the online version of this book, not the paper copy but assuming they both have the same content then Harrison’s is not relying on past glories. In fact, this is a super textbook of general medicine that clearly has a lot going for it. Having seen a couple of clinical issues around prostate cancer recently prompted me to read around the subject using this book. I initially searched (using the in house search engine) on “prostate cancer” but to many results showed up. So, I simplified the search to “prostate” and I was effortlessly taken to Chapter 83, benign and malignant diseases of the prostate and the first section was exactly what I was looking for. It was easy to read from my computer screen and contained the level and description of information I needed. I particularly liked Figure 83-3, sites of action of different hormonal therapies was particularly helpful.
Navigating around this book is easy and the search function is impressive. I also needed to read around the topic of Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). So I popped this into the Harrison’s search engine and although there were a number of useful references, it was easy to work from the solutions found via the index (under CRPS). I quickly found the article I wanted, and it was what I was looking for and my knowledge needs satisfied.
This book is well put together, it is a massive body of work and is clearly reliable, readable, and authoritative. On screen (I used a large PC screen), it is easy to read and very nicely laid out with plenty of breaks in text and well illustrated making this a superb and accessible general textbook of medicine. The editing is excellent and seamless and it is easy to follow whilst the writing style is relaxed and impressively well bolted together so that it is not obvious there are plenty of contributors.
I assume this works on an app but I could only get this product to work on a PC not on the associated app. Hopefully that was just a minor gremlin and assuming it can work on a smartphone or tablets this would be a boon.
The 2-volume textbook is priced at £169 (I don’t know if you can get the digital edition alone on the UK) and for what you get, this is not a lot of money. It is without doubt, a highly authoritative, scholarly book, ideal for a clinician looking for a dependable general textbook of medicine with an impressive pedigree that is not resting on its laurels.
Dr Harry Brown