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June 26, 1996

Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Author Affiliations

St Vincent Hospital Worcester, Mass

JAMA. 1996;275(24):1935. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530480077049

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Should one general internist review a book of more than 4000 pages by 549 contributors? I think yes, because a member of the intended audience should be the best judge of the book's usefulness.

Given this, how can one person do it? My method involved three steps. First, I looked at every page to judge the scope of the coverage of each section and to evaluate the illustrations, diagrams, tables, and figures. It was impossible to resist the urge to read dollops of the material encountered in such an overview, and this part of my work was especially pleasurable. Then I read several complete chapters, selected because the topics were ones with which I felt confident or, alternatively, in which my knowledge was deficient. Finally, and most important, I looked up questions that arose daily for a month to evaluate the index (170 quadruple-column pages, included in all three volumes)