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J R Soc Med. 2001 June; 94(6): 313.
PMCID: PMC1281543

Concise Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Reviewed by T J Ulahannan

Editors: JGG Ledingham, David A Warrell
2007 pp Price £75 ISBN 0-19-262870-4
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 .

What is the purpose of a concise textbook? Before embarking on such a work the editors should have a clear idea of the answer. The full version of the Oxford Textbook of Medicine, now the standard British reference work, comes in three sizeable volumes and is expensive. Professor Ledingham and Professor Warrell envisage their concise version appealing particularly to students and junior doctors.

In this sector of the marketplace there is much competition. Other short textbooks have established themselves in the hearts and minds of students and junior doctors with liberal use of coloured illustrations, useful lists in boxes and practical advice on common procedures. In these respects the Concise Oxford Textbook of Medicine is lacking. The editors seem to have interpreted their task literally, simply editing down the original and carrying over the eccentricities of the original. Thus diabetes, covered in a chapter of the section on metabolic diseases, is given the same weight in the organization of the book as inherited disorders of aminoacid metabolism. While this may be understandable in the encyclopaedic original, one expects a concise text to emphasize the topics of greatest importance while others are deleted or ruthlessly pruned.

For undergraduates considering a first textbook of medicine or graduates preparing for higher exams, a more focused text might be a wiser investment. However, for those who seek the essence of the full Oxford Textbook of Medicine without its bulk, the Concise Textbook represents a good buy.

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press