When a textbook has reached its 40th birthday and its 12th edition,1 it becomes exceedingly difficult to review. Many reviews will appear, of course, but for the most part they will comment, say, on the number of pages and "view with alarm" the almost inevitable increases; they will indicate the major changes since the preceding edition, such as the number of new contributors and new articles—information the editors conveniently provide in the preface. The adventuresome reviewer may weigh the book and reveal its avoirdupois, leaf through the references to tell us what proportion bears a recent date, and then make a few comments on those textual areas with which he is best acquainted. But the book has now achieved such a solid position that a methodological and historical critique may be more significant than a conventional review.
However, first let me provide the data which the reader naturally expects.
King LS. Cecil-Loeb Textbook of Medicine. JAMA. 1967;202(2):133–134. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130150101019
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