An Institution between Covers - the 39th Edition Expands Gray's Original Task - By Sherwin B. Nuland
"The eminent mid-20th century British historian of medicine F.N.L. Poynter once said of Gray's Anatomy
that "what began as a book has become an institution."
Like all progressive institutions, this one periodically looks itself over, evaluates its development and takes measures to be sure that it has kept up with the times. Keeping up has occasionally required increasing the complexity of its operations, necessarily expanding its bureaucracy, and seeking new forward-looking leadership. As the
institution among medical books, Gray's Anatomy
has throughout its history continued to do all these things, with the result that it has only improved with age; it is venerable, but not hoary.
Quite obviously, no single reviewer is competent to judge the reliability of every bit of material to be found in this encyclopedic book. As a general surgeon selectively studying sections with which I have a career's worth of experience and only perusing others, I am much taken with their usefulness and lucid readability, which says a great deal for an anatomy text. At the astonishingly low price of $169 for the print edition and only an extra $30 to have it on CD-ROM and online as well, this may be the best value seen in medical publishing since 1819, when Rene Laennec's two-volume treatise on auscultation was put on sale at a price of 13 francs, with a stethoscope thrown in for a small additional cost.
One final word. It is customary when reviewing a book that is in all ways as outstanding as this one to introduce a quibble or two, if for no other reason than to show that the volume has been carefully and completely evaluated with a critical eye. Being a surgeon and not an anatomist (who therefore does not know a fissura antitragohelicina
from a sulcus antihelcis transversus
), I have been able to find only one item about which to grouse: One looks in vain for the "Surface Anatomy of the Lower Limb" to be found on page 1339, as the table of contents claims. It is to be located 60 pages further on, where the topic is just as clearly presented as is every other facet of this beautifully produced and medically invaluable book." -- Scientific American, March 2005
The book exudes class. Surgeons and radiologists will enjoy owning the ultimate road map of the human body. Clinicians will enjoy dipping into this and reading about their specialist area. Whilst many doctors will find some of the contents a fascinating and interesting read. The quality of illustrations is superb with great detail and well labelled. The website is fantastic and similar to other e-ditions from the Elsevier series.
This package is magnificient and for those that want a superb anatomy resource, look no futher this book and website will more than suffice. -- Univadis Medical Website, May 2005
This book is essential for the practice of pathological anatomy as it focuses on what the practitioner can see in practice as opposed to the anatomy which is taught academically. It is an integrated and original work which will become a daily reference for all clinicians, radiologists and anatomo-pathologists. It's easy to read, attractively designed and user friendly. It is to be recommended at all levels, in particular for those needing to refresh their knowledge. French Website for french pathologists (www.anapath.necker.fr)
The new Gray's website has an ask-the-author section where your emailed question can be directed via the editor-in-chief to one of the authors. There's a selection of about 30 anatomy-related websites. There's a link to a drugs database. And the editorial team keep you up-to-date with the world of anatomy by regularly inserting anatomical research abstracts at relevant places in the e-book. Many will like the 39th edition and it will be widely used. -- The Lancet Oncology, August 2005
The Primal 3 interactive tests are the best bit on the CD and will certainly be of interest to students trying to learn all this stuff for the first time, and for those who wish to see how much they have forgotten. -- The Lancet, September 2005