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Mason JK, Purdue BN, eds. (£155.00.) Arnold, 2000. ISBN 0 340 69189 1.J Clin Pathol 2001;54:816
This book covers all aspects of trauma, from statistical facts and figures to clinical and postmortem findings. It is divided into 31 chapters using situations in which trauma is experienced, which is a logical approach that allows an in depth discussion of each topic, but does mean that the pathological information is spread throughout the book. I do not think that this is a disadvantage, however, because the non-pathological information is both useful and extremely interesting. Topics range from the more mundane, such as vehicular injuries, firearm injuries, cutting wounds, and head injuries, to the more esoteric, such as major disaster pathology, injury in sport and recreational activities, mining injuries, and modern war wounds. There are a large number of contributors (42 in total) reflecting the wide range of skills used in the investigation of trauma, but the editing has ensured that there is a common layout and progression of information, making it easy to find the details that you seek. The references are numerous (about 50 or so in each chapter) and are up to date. Best of all, however, are the illustrations, which are also numerous and without exception of extremely high quality. In my experience, books describing gross pathology are often let down by out of focus, dark photographs that do not clearly illustrate the text. The photos in this book are beautiful (to the eyes of a pathologist!) and as gory as you would expect, given the title of the book.
This book is essentially a book of forensic pathology that also includes related clinical and scientific information, and as such would be an asset to any pathologist with a coronial or forensic practice. It is also a must for any mortuary or histopathology department.