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March 3, 1969

Allgemeine und experimentelle Immunologie und Immunopathologie sowie ihre klinische Anwendung

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois Chicago

JAMA. 1969;207(9):1721. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150220137039

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Experimental and clinical immunology is a discipline of startling advances and increasing complexity. I have wondered whether its measure could still be taken by a single author, in a single volume. Professor Steffen and his new textbook have almost succeeded, although, of course, not everywhere and not without paying a price.

The scope of the volume is encyclopedic; it not only covers, in sequence, fundamentals, pathogenicity of various forms of sensitization, and the serological diagnosis of immunological diseases, but it includes an informative manual of immunological experimentation. The author dominates the book; his disagreements are clearly stated. He is concerned with semantics, and with good reason: he argues that hypersensitivity suggests quantitative rather than qualitative changes. Yet, we have become more philosophical about terms. Many have tried in vain to replace the objectional term "autoimmune disease" with something more meaningful. We are lucky that von Pirquet's genius coined a surprisingly