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July 25, 1966

A Textbook of Clinical Pathology

JAMA. 1966;197(4):302. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110040112039

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While any textbook in its seventh edition can point to a built-in certificate of commendation, the present volume shows a serious drawback. The intended audience is not clearly defined. The book "is designed to give the medical student, intern, resident physician, clinical pathologist, and teacher of medicine an authoritative source of information" on how best to use the clinical laboratory. Claiming to emphasize function and mechanism of disease, the text aims to give understanding of laboratory procedures and to act as a guide in interpretation and evaluation. This laudable aim, unfortunately, is imperfectly achieved.

The difficulty is in large part clearly traceable to the multiple authorship. Sometimes stressing technical aspects, other times principles and concepts, the book in a sense tries to be all things to all men—and fails. The critical reader will sorely miss a uniform point of view or method of exposition. Some chapters present detailed technical aspects