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Anim JT. (£7.50.) Square One Publications, 1999. ISBN: 1 8999 5541 0.
In the current climate of adverse publicity and a UK manpower crisis in histopathology, the book's aim to “project the pathologist and break some of the myths surrounding his profession” is most welcome. Dr Anim appears well qualified to undertake such a task, having worked in Kuwait, Ghana, and London, and having experience in the four main pathology disciplines. Despite being a histopathologist, he succeeds in minimising the necropsy fixation of most accounts and gives a considered overview of each branch of pathology, highlighting the often overlooked educational and management aspects of the job.
The book comprises a brief history of pathology and its subspecialities, analyses various training schemes and practices worldwide, and touches on future developments. It is more than just a factual account because the author puts forward opinions on the role of pathology in the undergraduate curriculum, the need for close clinical liaison, and the frustrations experienced by pathologists trained abroad who return to work in less developed countries.
The author acknowledges that some of his observations on training might be deficient owing to the speed of recent modifications which, not surprisingly, is the case in his coverage of the MRCPath examination. Mention of the specialist training register and the concept of continuing medical education are notable omissions.
There are several appendices pertaining to training in the UK, USA, China, and the USSR, but these would benefit from the inclusion of contact addresses/web sites for organisations such as the RCPath, ACP, IBMS, and IAP and their overseas equivalents. Although the information in the text seems up to date, the references are disappointing, with many citations of recent trends/advances dating from the mid-eighties.
The price is extremely reasonable, which encourages one to overlook the occasional typographical errors such as: “the part 2 is less formal and may consist of a dessertation”!
In my opinion, the author achieves his aim and this book will be of value to those called upon to explain the work of a pathologist to health professionals or lay people, and to those involved in giving careers advice.