Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great for a second pass at immunology
on April 15, 2010
My use of this book is probably a little different from most of the other reviewers here. My medical school immunology course used a different book (Lippincott's Immunology, which is passable); a year later, while studying for my USMLE step 1, I didn't want to waste time re-reading the basics in a textbook (i.e. I didn't need to read a 20-page chapter about the difference between innate and adaptive immunity). I also wasn't satisfied with the level of detail in my review books, which were fine for physiology but very weak in describing genetic immunodeficiency syndromes.
That's the benefit of this book-- the basics are there, but are integrated into cases alongside more "advanced" concepts. If you already have a good grasp on basic immunology (adaptive vs. innate, B vs. T, CD4 vs. CD8, Th1 vs. Th2), this is a much easier way to learn the complexities of immunodeficiency syndromes or autoimmune diseases (most of the cases in this book are one or the other). As such, I would definitely recommend using this book for a boards review of immunology (if you can spare a day or two from your review schedule to read it-- it's about 300 pages). It covers ALL the relevant immunology-- I can't imagine being surprised by an immuno question on test day if you know what's in here.
That said, I would NOT recommend this book as a starting point for learning immunology (and based on some of the other reviews here, that is unfortunately how it has occasionally been used). This was never meant to be a stand-alone immunology text, and I honestly can't imagine why it would be assigned as the text for an undergraduate introductory course. There are several good introductory immunology books out there-- the one I used is Sompayrac's "How the Immune System Works," but you have lots of choices. Once you have the basics, though, this book is excellent for making the jump to clinical immunology.