Dubbed the Bible of Medicine, the Merck manual is a book condensed enough to cover all the major aspects of of medicine in a text written that even though is targeted towards health care practitioners, can also be used by that layman. Written first at the end of the 19th century, the manual covers nearly most of everything in the medical field. From why epilepsy occurs to that dreadful itchy rash, the topics are concise, up to the point and easy to understand. Even though a home edition exists, the black book can be used by educated people to know anything they would like to know, with the exception of surgery.
The book is divided into an alphabetical scheme, where all the topics are featured in that order. However that can be confusing as such since the subtopics are not arranged that way. Case in point, if you wanted to search for Candidiasis of the skin, you should not search under C, but S for skin disorders and then follow things through. This can be confusing at first, but then again, this is not an encyclopedia or dictionary of medical terms. The great thing about the book is the way everything is covered in the basic schema of background, signs and symptoms and then therapy. This helps people understand the topic in the right sense and actually makes it stick to your mind for a long time. The book is also good enough to mention the doses of the drugs used to treat an ailment.
No medical clinician should be out there practicing without the Merck Manual on his desk. This is a quick reference that is essential in the day of evidence based medicine and where the patient is educated enough to be a part of his or her treatment plan and not just the silent recepient. The book can be found in the hard copy format and is available for the PALM, which makes it the best reference carried in a doctor's pocket.
Very Highly Recommended!!!