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When opening a new book, a logical first place to start is the Table of Contents. Here one is immediately struck by the lack of logical order of the chapters. The topics covered suggest they were chosen by the authors to match their interests rather than in a concerted effort to cover subjects of importance or of recent interest in the field. Some newer topics appear to be missing—for example, there is no obvious treatment of metapneumovirus. Some “specialist” areas are covered—for example, “Respiratory infections following haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children”—whereas others that might be expected such as mycobacterial infections appear to be missing. In fact, most of the important areas in childhood respiratory infections are covered in this book; it is just a challenge to find some of them.
The chapters themselves are generally easy to read and informative. I particularly liked the simple and separate descriptions of the roles of the innate and adaptive immune systems, together with non-immune factors in host defence that were included in the early chapters. The “Key points for clinical practice” included at the end of most chapters are likely to be particularly useful for most readers. The information in the chapters is up to date and strikes a nice balance between providing sufficiently detailed information to satisfy the informed reader and presenting important concepts simply enough to be understandable to the less well informed. The references are extensive and up to date.
Overall, this is an easy to read and informative book that should be of great interest to practising physicians, paediatricians, respiratory trainees, and medical undergraduates.
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