Pavel A. Rappoport , 1913-1988, formerly head of the Architectural-Archaeological Fieldwork Group of the Institute of Archaeology, Leningrad.
An Institution between Covers - the 39th Edition Expands Gray's Original Task - By Sherwin B. Nuland <p> The eminent mid-20th century British historian of medicine F.N.L. Poynter once said of Gray's Anatomy that what began as a book has become an institution. <br>Like all progressive institutions, this one periodically looks itself over, evaluates its development and takes measures to be sure that it has kept up with the times. Keeping up has occasionally required increasing the complexity of its operations, necessarily expanding its bureaucracy, and seeking new forward-looking leadership. As the institution among medical books, Gray's Anatomy has throughout its history continued to do all these things, with the result that it has only improved with age; it is venerable, but not hoary. <br>Quite obviously, no single reviewer is competent to judge the reliability of every bit of material to be found in this encyclopedic book. As a general surgeon selectively studying sections with which I have a career's worth of experience and only perusing others, I am much taken with their usefulness and lucid readability, which says a great deal for an anatomy text. At the astonishingly low price of $169 for the print edition and only an extra $30 to have it on CD-ROM and online as well, this may be the best value seen in medical publishing since 1819, when Rene Laennec's two-volume treatise on auscultation was put on sale at a price of 13 francs, with a stethoscope thrown in for a small additional cost. <br>One final word. It is customary when reviewinga book that is in all ways as outstanding as this one to introduce a quibble or two, if for no other reason than to show that the volume has been carefully and completely evaluated with a critical eye. Being a surgeon and not an anatomist (who therefore does not know a fissura antitragohelicina from a sulcus antihelcis transversus ), I have been able to find only one item about which to grouse: One looks in vain for the Surface Anatomy of the Lower Limb to be found on page 1339, as the table of contents claims. It is to be located 60 pages further on, where the topic is just as clearly presented as is every other facet of this beautifully produced and medically invaluable book. <br>- Scientific American, March 2005