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June 1985

In Defense of Robust Reviewing

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Pennsylvania 36th and Hamilton Walk/GM Philadelphia, PA 19104

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(6):713. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660060025002

To the Editor:  The recent exchange of views1,2 concerning the adequacy of Rook and Dawber's book raises the question of the overall adequacy of such reviews.I find that the reviews published in our American journals are largely worthless, almost always ending in a stereotyped rosy statement, viz, "This book, despite some minor failings, is a worthwhile edition to the literature and should be read by every dermatologist who takes pride in being up-to-date."There would be fewer and better books if reviewers more often had the courage and honesty to state very clearly "this book should not be bought by serious students." This blow could be softened by a footnote pointing out that the volume is quite handsome and will be a beautiful addition to the library shelf.

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