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April 2, 1997

Medicine for the Practicing Physician

Author Affiliations

St Vincent Hospital Worcester, Mass


by J. Willis Hurst, 4th ed, 2141 pp, with illus, $125, ISBN 0-8385-6317-1, Stamford, Conn, Appleton & Lange, 1996.

JAMA. 1997;277(13):1083. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540370073044

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In size and heft, this book resembles all the other big textbooks of medicine, but its title gives the first clue to how it differs. Medicine for the Practicing Physician is an eminently pragmatic source of information packaged for immediate clinical usefulness. It is meant for the primary care physician to have at hand when confronted by a problem in her or his practice and for subspecialists of all types to look up information not directly related to their subspecialty but relevant to the patient before them.

The first successful American textbook of medicine, Osler's Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892), consisted of chapters on disease entities organized into sections on the basis of etiology (eg, "Specific Infectious Diseases") or systems ("Diseases of the Digestive System"). The evolution of medical textbooks into multiple authorship was a natural step. A major innovation in format came with Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine