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March 15, 1985

Pathologic Basis of Disease

Author Affiliations

State University of New York-Upstate Medical Center Syracuse, NY

JAMA. 1985;253(11):1641. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350350139038

The pathology textbooks of the 1930s and 1940s mirrored the teaching of pathology at a low ebb: a descriptive discipline rich in color, shapes, and culinary allusions, but imprisoned by the autopsy and satisfied with the portrayal of disease as static morbid anatomy.

After the war there were hopeful rebellions, and several splinter books appeared. Especially notable was Sir Howard Florey's General Pathology, around which rallied those departments of pathology that revered the new science of cell biology. Wiley D. Forbus attempted to bring movement and dynamism back to pathology with Reaction to Injury, which unfortunately never caught on. No one, however, approached pathology as a clinical discipline, and only Boyd demonstrated elegance of style. W. A. D. Anderson captured the mainstream; his monumental work (introduced in 1948, and now in its eighth edition, edited by J. W. Kissane) continued the tradition of obsessive cataloging, gradually introducing dynamic concepts as