I suspect most reviewers here are far more academic than I as my education finished at GCSE :). However I've maintained a layman's interest in popular psychology and brain stuff for years.
I picked this up on an impulse to really learn in more depth about how the brain really works. Bearing in mind my education level, I've found it clear and readable. I did pick it out after reading other reviews and I have to say I agree with them. Well worth picking up if you are either an amatuer like me, interested in understanding in much greater depth. I cannot comment on the detail needed by medical students however LOL. It looks pretty comprehensive to me!
Since this review I've acquired many more books and a little more knowledge. I find I use this book in conjunction with Foundations of Biopsychology
which is not as comprehensive as this one. The other book allows one to grasp an area in general with some technical details, then this one allows you to dig further into the finer points-specifics of anatomy, chemistry and function. Between the two I'm confident that a solid ground in preperation for a degree in neuroscience is acheivable. Having not done a degree I can't comment on how far this would carry you *through* said degree-I would imagine it's at least a very solid start.
From my own viewpoint, I've acquired two other books that are sat on my nightly study pile that I find interesting and useful at this early stage of my personal learning. One is Netter's Concise Neuroanatomy (Netter Basic Science)
which allows me a vastly more indepth anatomical reference at any one chapter of the neuroscience book and also The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
, which I'm halfway through at time of writing. This latter book is fascinating and trying to follow it pushes me to refer back to the neuroscience book to get to grips with the various channels and receptors mention. A review of this book will turn up soon once I've completed it.
Note the comments above only arise at time of writing from a layman who's yet to take some A levels to qualify for the degree in question here. So from my perspective, you can get a comprehensive foundation in the theory from these books if you like to teach yourself. My listmania lists all the books I'm using for this :).
Weeks role on and I acquire more materials, and read more. My view of this book has only gotten better however. I've got more complex books on specific areas, atlases and other stuff on had. I've also got a couple of texts that equate to AS/A level on the subject matter as well. I would say that this is firmly in the core text for a degree level and very nicely presented overall. One of these easiest books with depth that I have here. The section on the senses illustrates this with a pretty thorough working over of the sense organ involved, the structure/physiology and then the neuronal involvement, like the detail about visual pathways, down to the cortical columns that process lines, angles, contrasts etc.
Whilst I can't compare it to Kandel's Principles of Neural Science or Larry Squire's Fundementals book, I can say that for it's purpose you won't regret investing in it. Add the pricing which is very cheap for this level of work, I think you have a winner.
22nd December 2010 - 16 months of a new job, gained partly from a discussion on Dementia, given whilst very drunk, the material of which came from both this book and Dr Doug Richards of Birmingham University who's textbook for his course Good Brain/Bad Brain is also highly recommended. The new job itself, required me to learn a variety of things (the care sector and it's needs and some programming/css and bit). This meant my neuro study had to slow right down.
However, this is still the first book I would give to any newcomer who needs that mixture of basics and the science that goes with it, without being overwhelmed by Netter level detailed neuroanatomy. Check my listmania, I have these and other very detailed type books-and I love some of them. They're not the ones I'd begin with-this still is.
From what I've seen since I started, this doesn't carry you 3 years of neuro. It carries you very handily through the first year. It took me 8 weeks to read through it properly when I first got it.