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December 15, 1989

Textbook of Internal Medicine

Author Affiliations

Jefferson Medical College Philadelphia, Pa

Jefferson Medical College Philadelphia, Pa

JAMA. 1989;262(23):3355. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430230144048

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When perusing a new textbook of medicine, the slow but inexorable progress of medical science stands out in relief as it influences important changes in the practice of medicine. These changes are continuous and pervasive, and they constitute the most important justification for the seemingly endless production of new textbooks striving to keep us in the forefront of our profession. The enormous volume of publications creates a competitive market obliging editors to provide a broad perspective, and if an editor has a large number of diversified authors he can usually assure the reader of a broad perspective, as Kelley does with 529 contributors.

I was concerned, however, to observe that several authors have contributed chapters to one or more other current textbooks presumed to be competitors. Are we gestating a new professional class of textbook writers? If it were a trend that might lead to rigid mainstream pronouncements I would