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March 27, 1967

Basic Medical Virology

JAMA. 1967;199(13):1013-1014. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120130099033

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This book was written for students; it can equally well serve the needs of the physician who wishes to learn about a subject which was in infancy during his medical school years. It gives a brief résumé of some of the mechanisms underlying viral infections but most of the book comprises chapters devoted to individual groups of viruses and written mostly by basic scientists specializing in the particular groups.

The book has both the merits and the failings of any multiple-author text which reviews a rapidly expanding field. The quality of writing is uneven, there is duplication, and the weight of the information, given without emphasis, may well confuse rather than enlighten the reader. As a minor example, the excellent and comprehensive references cited and listed at the end of each chapter will be invaluable for experimental investigators but cannot avoid bewildering the student. There is insufficient discussion of basic