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August 7, 1996

Gray's Anatomy

Author Affiliations

Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1996;276(5):423-424. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540050083032

Gray's Anatomy

"Men of genius do not excel in any profession because they labour in it, but they labour in it, because they excel."

William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

The genius Henry Gray devoted his youth to anatomy. In 1858, at the age of 31, he published a book of 750 pages and 363 figures. I had the honor to review the 37th edition of Gray's Anatomy for this publication and now hold the 38th edition, a colossus of 2092 pages and 2768 illustrations.

Gray's Anatomy began transforming its scope and visual impact in 1971. While the content is excellent, the overall organization is disarticulated and fragmented. I appreciate the color pages fronting each chapter, some graced with valuable statements of philosophy (see chapter 3). The blend of knowledge and skepticism of the 37th edition continues magnificently.

I concur with editor Lawrence H. Bannister's assessment of the Queen of Medical Sciences today: