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Textbooks are of many kinds. Three can be recognized clearly. One is the complete, informative work of reference. Another is the short book of instruction. The third uses the unusual approach, and is not so much a textbook as a slanted comment. All three have their uses. The complete work reached its apogee in Cecil and Loeb. Despite 174 authors, Cecil has achieved and maintained excellence and provides an unsurpassed standard of factual information. You can look up hyperglobulinemic purpura or clonorchiasis and find the facts, supported by useful references. The value of the fine complete work is obvious. So are the disadvantages. You cannot throw it on one side without spraining your wrist or flattening the cat. You cannot get a bird's-eye view. Only the most intelligent, conscientious, and hardworking student can read it from cover to cover. Some medical schools not only require students to attend lectures, but
Stone DB. The Principles and Practice of Medicine. Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(1):147–148. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620010151028
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