September 8, 1978

The Harvard Guide to Modern Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Medical Center Ann Arbor


edited by Armand M. Nicholi, Jr, 691 pp, $29.50, Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1978.

JAMA. 1978;240(11):1186. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290110084030

Textbooks tend to be lengthy. They have multiple contributors who discuss a wide array of topics. A reviewer will inevitably perceive some sections as superb, while others simply seem to fill pages. Since all texts have some weak segments, overall balance determines their degree of excellence.

On balance, this is a good book. The editor, Armand M. Nicholi, Jr, stated he orchestrated the book to provide psychiatrists with a "brief, technically sound resource." In most ways, he has succeeded. Realizing this deceptively modest objective was certainly helped by relying on impressive contributors. (Twenty-nine of 32 are directly affiliated with Harvard, thus explaining the title.) The outlined structure of the book is relatively conventional and pleasingly simple.

Yet this book is not without problems. I would have preferred more tables and illustrations. The book contains few. Good illustrations not only clarify, but provide some relief from reading 664 double-column pages—tedious even