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Book and Media Reviews
August 6, 2008

Comprehensive Textbook of AIDS Psychiatry

JAMA. 2008;300(5):586-587. doi:10.1001/jama.300.5.586

Writers of textbooks in the age of Internet-based information face a greater challenge because of the ease with which researchers or even practitioners can access new and emerging medical information, oftentimes from their own desktops. But textbooks serve a wider purpose beyond the presentation of information. They lend legitimacy to an area of inquiry as it metamorphoses into a discipline. A textbook is thus at once symbol of a discipline and repository of new information digested by its experts. The publication of Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry by Cohen and Gorman denotes the coming of age of AIDS psychiatry as a discipline. The textbook traces the long development of current knowledge of AIDS and the twists and turns the pursuit of this knowledge took within societal institutions and policy-making bodies. Viewed from this perspective, the book is a bildungsroman of the AIDS era in the biopsychosocial mode.