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Views And Reviews

Best books on anaesthesia: a personal choice

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 05 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:423

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  1. N Goodman

    Anaesthesia is applied physiology, pharmacology, and physics; their application depends on knowledge of medicine and surgery. General textbooks of anaesthesia should move from the scientific principles to clinical practice and will never include enough detail for someone especially interested in particular topics.

    (Fig Omitted)

    I guess that the large textbooks are bought mostly by libraries and by candidates for the FRCA examinations who want something more than spoon feeding, though my advice to them is to use the contents pages of a large textbook as a list of topics to be covered and to write their own textbook of notes from reviews and editorials. These are written by the same people who write the chapter in the textbooks but are more up to date.

    Contributors to textbooks must give readers perspective, not merely regurgitated fact. The editors must have done more than collect the manuscripts and send them to the publisher. No textbook is going to be glaringly incorrect for even a chapter or two, so probably the most important consideration is whether it is easy to read. Is the text a sensible size and laid out well? Are the diagrams clear, and are they to a uniform style? Will the pages dissolve or stick together when the inevitable coffee or propofol gets spilled on them? Textbooks …

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