Top positive review
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A masterclass in medical literature
on 2 February 2011
Guyton and Hall's Medical Physiology is a superb textbook. It is a comprehensive bible for the pre-clinical medical student, with good, clear illustrations and a clinical emphasis which is in keeping with most basic medical science texts of today. However, perhaps more importantly, the beauty of Guyton and Hall's book lies in its smooth, serene prose, which manages to perfectly convey the dynamic and exciting intricacies of human physiology.
All topics of physiology are covered and the book excels at combining breath and depth. Cardiovascular physiology is one of major strengths of Guyton and Hall. The chapters on cardiac failure and pathophysiology of shock were especially very good and gave a comprehensive overview of the physiological mechanisms that come into play in these conditions. The book's coverage haemostasis, renal and endocrine physiology was also suitably comprehensive and I found these chapters to be very well written. My main complaint was the coverage of reproductive physiology which I thought could have had slightly more depth.
Guyton does not have as great a range of illustrations as its competitors, such as Boron and Boulpaep. This is partly because in Guyton, the diagrams only act to complement the text but I feel that some more illustrations could be included without breaking the flow of the prose. Guyton and Hall feels like a story book at times and I enjoy this dimension of its writing. This is the main reason I prefer it over the onerous and pragmatic writing style that Ganong favours.
The textbook fairly hefty, but physiology is a major part of preclinical medicine and this book encompasses relevant aspects of the discipline for the medical student. It isn't meant to be carried in your pocket, but is meant to sit on your desk as an approachable aid to understanding. Guyton and Hall's physiology also sports a rather big price tag -- well, you get what you pay for-- and, in this case at least, you're getting a textbook of rare quality.
In short, I feel that Guyton and Hall's Medical Physiology stands near the pinnacle of undergraduate medical literature. Surely it is one of the best written books on undergraduate medical physiology and, despite it's massive size, it is very approachable for someone who has just done A-level biology and is taking their first steps in medical school. If you want to avoid spending attention on learning from multiple physiology text and want to study physiology from a single textbook, which doesn't skimp on detail and stays relevant without causing an information overload, look no further.