Atlas of Dermatopathology
By George F Murphy and Arlene J. Herzberg, 382 pp, with 72 illus, $195, Philadelphia, Pa, WB Saunders Co, 1996.
What should be the purpose of an atlas of dermatopathology? A geographic atlas of earth should provide the user with an overview of the globe followed by sufficient detail to allow recognition of various meaningful subdivisions. Similarly, an atlas of dermatopathology should offer a broad picture of cutaneous disease with illustration of diagnostic details allowing the reader to discriminate the equivalent of Arkansas from Alaska. Keeping these general goals in mind, the Atlas of Dermatopathology, by George Murphy and Arlene Herzberg, succeeds in its mission. This atlas is not a complete reference text and is best suited to the casual explorer of dermatopathology.
The atlas comprises 382 pages with 72 illustrations and is divided into five sections: an introduction; inflammatory dermatoses; neoplasms; pigmentary, systemic/metabolic, and degenerative disorders; and regional dermatopathology. The photomicrographs are in color and are generally of good to excellent quality. Excellent clinical photographs that are a nice complement to the histopathology accompany many of the diseases considered. In particular, I thought that the chapter on vesicobullous disorders was well done. The drawings used to enhance the photomicrographs are of high quality and add value to the text.
Arrows would be helpful on many photomicrographs to specifically indicate the finding mentioned in the text. Chapter 1 is a bit awkward in its organization and fails to adequately provide information on "Structure, Function, and Reaction Patterns." I thought it odd that acanthosis nigricans was considered under the headings of "Epidermal Tumors," and the concept of "T lymphocyte dysplasia" as a synonym for large plaque parapsoriasis is beyond the scope of this work.
For the student of dermatopathology, this atlas would serve as a nice introduction to the field. Individuals needing to rely on a comprehensive source are best directed elsewhere, as this atlas is more a sampling of dermatologic geography than a complete map.
Copyright College of American Pathologists Dec 1997
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