This book is well written and well illustrated, at a level appropriate for the beginning student in microscopical anatomy and cell biology. Technical terms specific to this field are highlighted at first use, and an accompanying glossary allows one to look up a term readily if it has been forgotten. The physical layout, with the textual description on the left-hand page and an accompanying set of light and electron micrographs on the right-hand page, makes the book easy to read and understand. The authors manage to convey a strong scientific message in a very readable manner.
A major accomplishment is the pairing of well-selected high-power light micrographs with very similar low-power electron micrographs. The higher resolving power of the electron microscope shows the structural details of these sections much more clearly. Since the authors wish to convey that form follows function, this more detailed structural image makes the functional interpretation much easier to understand.
The quality of the micrographs is uniformly very good, although some areas could have been made stronger. For example, the electron microscopy of the liver could have been better, and the authors might have included electron micrographs of the developing tooth bud. The sections on the gastrointestinal system, the respiratory system, and the kidney are superb.
This is a valuable book for first-year medical and dental students, students in advanced undergraduate courses in human biology, and practitioners who wish to update their histologic knowledge from a light-microscopy base to an electron-microscopical level. Since more disease is now being assessed at the ultrastructural and chemical levels, this book is a valuable addition to a physician’s library. Although expensive, it is an excellent teaching atlas for beginning students of human structure and function.
Charles E. Slonecker, D.D.S., Ph.D.
University of British Columbia
Vancouver BC V6T 1W5, Canada