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August 7, 1996

Gray's Anatomy

Author Affiliations

Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Ga


edited by Peter Williams, Lawrence H. Bannister, Martin M. Berry, Patricia Collins, Mary Dyson, Julian E. Dussek, and Mark W. J. Ferguson, 38th ed, 2092 pp, with illus, $175, ISBN 0-443-04560-7, New York, NY, Churchill Livingstone, 1995.

JAMA. 1996;276(5):423-424. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540050083032

Gray's Anatomy

"Men of genius do not excel in any profession because they labour in it, but they labour in it, because they excel."

William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

The genius Henry Gray devoted his youth to anatomy. In 1858, at the age of 31, he published a book of 750 pages and 363 figures. I had the honor to review the 37th edition of Gray's Anatomy for this publication and now hold the 38th edition, a colossus of 2092 pages and 2768 illustrations.

Gray's Anatomy began transforming its scope and visual impact in 1971. While the content is excellent, the overall organization is disarticulated and fragmented. I appreciate the color pages fronting each chapter, some graced with valuable statements of philosophy (see chapter 3). The blend of knowledge and skepticism of the 37th edition continues magnificently.

I concur with editor Lawrence H. Bannister's assessment of the Queen of Medical Sciences today: