Editors Adam Feather, David Randall and Mona Waterhouse
Published by Elsevier (June 2020)
I suspect many medics will be familiar with previous editions of this book (as I am), as this book already has a particularly good reputation in the medical community. However, all good medical textbook books after a few years need refreshed and updated. The good news is that this new edition retains its freshness and relevance to the practice of modern medicine. A big change is that Kumar and Clark are no longer the editors having passed on the mantle to the next generation. In fact, this next generation have produced a hugely impressive medical textbook which will appeal to a wide audience. That includes medical students as well as doctors progressing through their career as well as established doctors in a wide number of disciplines. This excellent book is not just confined to be used by medical students and doctors but a large number of allied healthcare professionals.
This book runs to a substantial 1544 pages and is a paperback which helps to keep the price down. Not surprisingly, it is bursting with medical information and is a very much a go to reference book. It has been around since 1987 and so not surprisingly it is trusted by generations of doctors and in my humble opinion that trust will be not only maintained but enhanced with this superb new edition. Although, it is a reasonably comprehensive (in reality not possible but this book makes a good effort) reference source, it is also very readable, authoritative, well laid out and makes excellent use of colour. I used this book (I am a GP) to look up a number of conditions and it usually did the business and enhanced my knowledge. It was also good to open it up at random and read a section. I did this on one occasion and ended up at page 416 and read an excellent description of autoantibodies, relevant to rheumatology. Page 955 is an excellent review of COPD and easy to read. Chapter 1, though I suspect aimed at medical students (Diagnosis: the art of being a doctor) is worth a read for any healthcare professionals at any stage in their career. It is an excellent back to basics chapter.
Impressively this book can cater for both medical students and established, experienced doctors and seemingly many people in between. This is very much a British textbook; the editors are from the UK whilst most of the contributors are British. However, there is a very impressive international advisory board and all contributors are listed at the beginning of the book. It is a bulky book and heavy to lift and not surprisingly, it is stuffed full of information covering a massive range of topics. For the majority of clinical medical practice, especially from a UK perspective, this will satisfy the needs of a wide range of users. It is difficult to look at every topic but all the usual suspects are there. However, it is always to look at topics which may not get a good outing in a general medical textbook. Examples include chapter 22 on dermatology which provides good coverage as does chapter 25 on liaison psychiatry.
Bundled with the price comes access to the content (and more) as part of a digital package. This includes web access and access from a smartphone or tablet via an app. The publisher has a long established digital service and this product follows the same proven set up as other publications in this company’s stable. As well as getting full access to the content to the book (excellent when you are on the move as this book due to its bulk is not easily transportable) there are extras such as video (examination techniques) audios (heart sounds) and assessment questions as well as extra content. Not surprisingly being such a big book and online extras, the download is just over 1GB so make sure you have plenty of room on your device. I find this a big bonus of the book purchase.
This of course takes me to the price, the book comes in at under £60 (including digital access) and for what you get, represents excellent value for money. If you are looking for an up to date, top class British based (but with a global outlook) general textbook of medicine then this book must be a worthy contender.
Dr Harry Brown
20th August 2020