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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2006
As a Neuroscience teacher I have seen a lot of Neuro textbooks, and this is the one that I recommend most highly to undergraduate students who are new to the Neurosciences. It is written in a very approachable style, covers enough important material to prepare students well for a 1st year prelim exam, but, unlike some other textbooks I could name, it does not swamp or confuse the novice with too much detail. Final year undergraduates or graduate students in the Neurosciences will probably want something more comprehensive, like Squire et al Fundamental Neuroscience, but as a first Neuroscience textbook this is among the best available.
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2008
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.
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on 18 January 2010
Although often cited as the main text for neuroscience there is no where near enough detail in this textbook to warrant it for undergraduate teaching. Throughout the book there are interesting stories about the medicine there but sadly this does not make up for the striking lack of depth.

One example of this is its detail regarding the cerebellum: in a couple of paragraphs it is finished without going into any of the circuitry or pathways necessary to understand it.

It is a useful textbook if you want an overall picture of the brain in very little depth, somewhere between a popular science book and a neuroscience textbook. For the medical students out here I would suggest holding off buying a textbook until the new Kandel and Schwartz is out. For now I would recommend using Kandel's Principles of Neural Science 2000 edition, but be warned it is out of date and you will need to supplement many areas, such as auditory pathways, with Purves or another neuroscience text.
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on 4 August 2014
I brought this book as a reminder of many key terms in neuroscience as I'm starting my MSc in a few months. I had expected a bit more depth, but I guess that's a problem with buying a kindle book-you don't really get to see the length of each chapter. However, I did get this book as an overview and it provided a good overview of the main topics in neuroscience. it's really well written and the boxes written by guest authors are a really nice touch. I'd recommend this to anyone getting into neuroscience as an introductory text.
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on 10 December 2012
I bought this book as a complete beginner (at uni I studied Music, and the only slightly-related A-Level I took was Psychology). I've been reading through and making notes and so far everything has been easy to understand, and on top of that very interesting. It's very well laid out.

I'm sure for experts it gives only a very broad view of the subject (there is also the danger of information becoming outdated), but for a beginner it's excellent. It seems to be aimed at first year undergrads, which is exactly the level I was aiming for.
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on 15 February 2014
A superbly clear and well illustrated description of how the brain works. I am a sex addiction therapist wanting to learn more about the neuroscience of addiction and this book provides the basic understanding of the brain that I need in order to go on to specialist texts.
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on 13 May 2009
Probably fantastic for medicine students or neuroscience students with lots of neuranatomy and clinical neuroscience. Very well laid out, pretty faultless in terms of how its written with very useful and easy to follow diagrams as well as a CD with a few good animations on action potentials and some stuff on neuroanatomy (but not a lot else). Comes with a free online service where you can send them coursework and get feedback...sounds pretty impressive, haven't tried it myself though just in case its rubbish! Seriously colourful...which is nice.

Would have definitely been 5 stars had it not been for a distinct lack of any detail with regard to receptors, transporters, glial cells, and a few other points which unfortunately made buying this book pretty useless for the module I bought it for. I'm sure it'd be great for others though.
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on 12 December 2009
If you are a medical student it does not meet your needs.

Medical students need some good neuroanatomy. This book has a beautiful 30 page colour layout with brief descriptions of neuroanatomy at a level that is too low for medical students. Medics also need associated clinical information relating to brain areas, such as where Lacunar infarcts are most likely and what you see in the clinic. This book has lovely little boxes written by guest neuroscientist authors about their research and why they love neuroscience encouraging students of neuroscience to push forward neurological research. Not really for medics.

There is a single list of the cranial nerves, no indication of what they do, where they are, how they connect to their suitable cranial nerve nuclei or what path they take through the skull. (Useful for knowing about complications of skull fracture) Details of the special senses like sight and hearing are very good, but then too high for medics - and opticians/otorhinolaryngologists (ENT) would have their own specialist texts, so then who is this for? The book uses lots of examples from animals, which is fascinating (-authors are clearly very knowlegeable), but not clinically relevant. It also contains some fascinating history of neuroscience, which tells us how we know what we know, but again, not really crucial for the Med student.

The detail on how neural tissue works (action potential, synapses) is in great depth and suitably simplified, and does have side boxes on things like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimers, but it does not really cover pathology, aetiology, epidemiology, treatment etc. The side boxes make little reference to medications, where there is such reference, there is no reference to side effects, mechanism of action, indications, contradictions (and why) etc. One thing that is particularly necessary to me as a medical student would be a collection of neural pathways for function (mostly motor), indicating where upper motor neurones, Lower motor neurone, primary/secondary/tertiary neurone cell bodies are, and how these neuronal pathways interact to produce or inhibit/control movement. This is clinically valuable for understanding what sort of lesion/bleed/infarct will cause what sort of clinical condition, such information is not found. This book is really for a neurology student. Positive note:- the reading style is very engaging, and it undoutebly meets the needs very well of some non-medic students.

Perhaps buying it in the first place was my own fault for being won over by a long list of other positive reviews. I only really give this 1 star to get the attention of medicine students, it deserves more really.
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on 16 July 2007
This is an excellent textbook in order to cover the generalities of neuroscience upto a second year BSc level. If you are looking for in depth topic within neuroscience I would suggest Principles of Neural Science by Kandel et al. However what this textbook lacks in detail, is more than ably compensated in its clarity and if the reader is interested, papers are suggested which, allows the reader to delve deeper into the mysteries of neuroscience.
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on 1 September 2006
Absolutely brilliant. Starts every chapter with the basic science if you're not familiar, then goes into a reasonable amount of detail. Great pictures, which really aid understanding, and good analogies to back up more complex ideas. Recommended for Biomed/Neuroscience/Medical/Biology students in 1st year !
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