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June 1989

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

Author Affiliations

Boston, Mass

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(6):806. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010828018

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It might surprise you to know that The Merck Manual has been around for almost 100 years. It has increased from its original 262 pages in 1899 to almost 10 times that size. There seems to be no question about its popularity, since the last edition sold 800 000 copies. Thus, we are inundated with an ever-increasing number of books, lushly colored atlases, journals, medical newspapers, videos, and computer programs, and yet, The Merck Manual sold just under 1 million copies of its latest edition. Does it have something special? Does it touch some essential nerve? Does it carry a fundamental message that medical educators should recognize?

"... the key to the book's value is its avoidance of trivia, rare phenomena, and 'weasel words.' "

I think the answer is yes to all of the above. In this day of enormous computer databases, The Merck Manual is impressively complete, as its 100

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