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Henry Gray was a young man when he wrote his Anatomy. He died in his mid-30s, within two years of authoring the book. Yet what he wrote in 1858 has outlived him by almost a century and a half and has reigned as the definitive text in the field until well into the middle of the 20th century. Even now, although dozens of anatomy books have appeared in the last few decades, most physicians would agree that Gray's Anatomy remains a classic in its field.
It was recognized as a classic even in the first review of the original edition, which intoned, "We may say with truth, that there is not a treatise in any language in which the relations of anatomy and surgery are so clearly and fully shown." Praising the book's outstanding ability "to furnish the student and practitioner with an accurate view of the human body, and
Jacob SW. Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical. JAMA. 1993;269(3):416–417. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500030118050