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In today's world of hyperspecialization and rapidly changing medical knowledge a surgical text can be enigmatic. In the blur created by rapid change, it is gratifying to find one that provides the reader with a focus.
A text is judged by various criteria:
Is it well organized?
Is it complete?
Is it accurate (up to date)?
Is the bibliography good (selective rather than overwhelming or indiscriminate)?
Is it usable?
The last is probably the most important criterion. An accurate, complete, well organized text may be unusable due to weak or laborious style, hackneyed photos, illustrations or charts, archaic regurgitations of material from other texts, or dreary inconclusive reviews of every debatable point or both.
Schwartz's Principles of Surgery rates a "very good" in most of these areas, but it excels in "usability." The style is readable, the information is concise and important, and the material
SPIEVACK AR. Principles of Surgery. Arch Surg. 1970;100(5):632. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340230098027