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The second edition of this monumental work adds considerable additional material on cell biology, immunology, and molecular aspects of lung disease. It remains formidable in physiology and structure. Of the great, multivolume studies in pulmonary medicine, The Lung clearly dominates the niche of basic science, as Fishman dominates in clinical-functional correlations and Fraser and Paré in radiological-structural correlations. This makes Crystal et al a lower priority for practicing clinicians but indispensable for investigators in pulmonary research.
It is indeed a very good reference but certainly not without its flaws and limitations. The work is structured into sections that systematically cover what one might call "lung science," with a couple of exceptions to be noted. The first, "General Biologic Processes," is a textbook of modern biochemistry and molecular biology from the point of view of the lung; it is essentially an organ-specific treatment of general phenomena and a complete textbook in
Guidotti TL. The Lung: Scientific Foundations. JAMA. 1997;278(23):2117. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550230093050