Dennis Kasper, Anthony Fauci, Stephen Hauser, Dan Longo, J. Larry Jameson and Joseph Loscalzo
19th Edition Published 2015
In the dim and distant past when I was a fourth year medical student, I was doing an elective in the UK and some of my fellow students were from Canada. We talked about which textbooks we were using and they mentioned for their general medicine, they were using Harrison’s and highly recommended it. This was the first time that I had heard of it and I borrowed their copy. I was hugely impressed at the time and over the years I have come across various editions of it. So it was with great interest that I came across this new and latest edition and I am delighted to say I was not disappointed.
Not surprisingly, in a book of this size it comes in two volumes which covers just under 3000 pages. So it is an enormous book but not overwhelming but what may surprise a new user is that volume one is much slimmer than volume two. The first volume is more a general review of medicine covering the basics as well symptoms and signs. I guess it is will be of great use to medical students but postgraduates will find this an excellent review of basic clinical skills knowledge and understanding. Volume 2 is much bigger and covers diseases in the standard and usual format. It is a clever and I think useful distinction which will allow a user to gain more from this impressive resource.
At the back of Volume 1 there is a DVD containing an additional 137 chapters which are not found in the printed book. These chapters are highlighted in the main text as a digital only chapter which is available on the accompanying DVD (it comes with the book) as well as Harrison’s online and the app. There is also a substantial number of illustration, nine hours of video as well as a 10 day free trial to Access Medicine which includes digital version of the 19th edition of Harrison’s plus more. In addition to the on line version of Harrison’s there is an impressive and wide array of resources in Access Medicine but it only lasts for 10 days. Prolonged digital access to Harrison’s is not available unless you additionally buy web access or the app.
The book itself is a truly outstanding review of general medicine and certainly up there as one of the best general textbooks of medicine available anywhere today. As well as being fresh and up-to-date, the quality of information is superb. There is also an impressive array of contributors who combine to produce a superb textbook of medicine. The production values are also outstanding and the many diagrams are truly superb, clear and educational. Some of the diagrams are magnificent, almost works of art and certainly eye catching as well as very informative. This helps to differentiate this book from its many rivals making it a superb textbook for postgraduates and an in-depth resource for undergraduates.
Many, if not the majority of the contributors are from the United States but this is truly a global textbook of medicine. Looking at the introductory pages there are huge number of foreign language editions including Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and many more. This speaks volumes for the success of the book.
The text reads well, is clear and accessible and is very clinically focused and seemingly comprehensive. It is an ideal reference source and it is a superb general medical resource to look up a specific topic and read around it.
It is difficult to criticise this outstanding work which has maintained its well-deserved place as a leading general medical reference work. This new edition continues its well-established pedigree. The print edition represents good value for money but some people may be prepared to pay more so they can have long term access to both a web edition and an app. Other people may be less bothered and will be very happy to own and access the superb two volume print edition plus the DVD.
Dr Harry Brown