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According to the publishers, this book is a comprehensive review of recent evaluative and management strategies aimed at practising clinicians. In the past, most of the volumes from this epic series have concentrated on selective aspects of the scientific basis of respiratory disease and therefore attracted the interested specialist. As on previous occasions, the format follows the pattern of a series of reviews written by acknowledged scientific experts. As usual the book is expensive, and is wide in scope with over 90 collaborators and more than 1000 pages. Unlike a textbook, however, the content lacks strong editorial control and it is effectively a collection of individual reviews. The quality of the chapters is therefore inconsistent. Some authors have clearly accepted their brief and produced excellent reviews. In particular, the chapters on radiology, dyspnoea, genetics, and trial methodology are outstanding. However, many other chapters fall short and there is evident “resting on laurels” in some areas. The book does cover many other interesting facets of COPD but clinicians who purchase this book will also be aware of substantial omissions in clinical areas of COPD care that are currently being developed. There is, for example, very little on rehabilitation or the organisation of services. There is nothing at all on nursing intervention, terminal care, travel, or self-management. There is, however, a welcome attempt to cover the global issues surrounding COPD.
This is an expensive book which contains some excellent chapters. However, the overall volume is slightly disappointing and would compare badly with a thoughtfully structured comprehensive textbook. In the past this series has worked well where it examines the leading edge of research. In this instance the more general reader may find better value in a textbook but could still profit from borrowing a copy from the library.
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