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May 16, 1986

Goodman and Gilman's the Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics

Author Affiliations

Tufts University School of Medicine Boston

JAMA. 1986;255(19):2678-2679. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370190162045

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In 1940, the world of pharmacology was revolutionized by the appearance of the first edition of this now-classic text. Edited by Lou Goodman and Al Gilman, it was a joy to read and a beacon in the darkness for teachers, students, and practitioners. (I can recall physicians saying they kept it on their bedside table for their nightly reading and pleasure.)

The new edition remains a competently written and authoritative book, although it is now put together by 58 people instead of two, with the inevitable problems posed by such a division of labor. (One may envy the editors and the publishers the income from this best seller, but not the task of nagging recalcitrant authors with no respect for deadlines.)

One may question, however, as in recent editions, the wisdom of combining a textbook for students and a reference for physicians. Those of us who teach second-year medical students