It's big, it's colorful, and it's got everything from your gallbladder and heart to your muscles, bones, blood and brain. Clear and helpful diagrams detail conditions from acne to malignant melanoma. This is a reassuring, easily understood text on our bodies as they exist in their ideal state, as well as common disorders and treatments. It's nice to brush up on anatomy without tests to sweat, but it's also great to have a doctor on your shelf to dispel those 3 a.m. certainties of imminent disease and doom.
This body atlas uses current medical illustration techniques to provide unique views of human anatomical features. Color-enhanced microscope photographs and computer-generated images accompany detailed drawings to illustrate various organs, demonstrate body functions, and depict problems or complications. The introduction explains various types of medical illustration such as computerized tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. These and other techniques are used throughout the next 12 chapters. The first chapter deals with cells, skin, and epithelium (the outer surface of the body). One page features a six-inch cross-sectional view of one layer of skin next to a greatly magnified photograph of a couple of strands of scalp hair. The next 10 chapters look at various systems (e.g., skeletal, muscular, reproductive). The last chapter, "The Human Life Cycle," considers fetal development, childbirth, growth, aging, and inheritance.
Each section is introduced by a one-page essay and a double-page full-body map showing the location or layout of each system. The rest of the chapter contains a series of pertinent illustrations, accompanied by captions and text. Boxed inserts, charts, and photographs highlight special features ("How Muscles Contract," "Types of Neurons," etc.). Diseases and disorders are also pictured. Treatment options, including more than 30 surgical procedures (hysterectomy, coronary bypass, mastectomy) are depicted, as are some standard medical tests.
The illustrations are clear and easy to comprehend, but the text often employs technical language (a glossary is provided). Although essentially a picture book, this is intended for an adult audience. Both The Children's Atlas of the Human Body (Millbrook, 1994) and The Body Atlas (Oxford, 1994) are designed to be accessible to children. The array of photographic techniques used to create high-quality illustrations make The Human Body a unique visual guide. For both reference and circulating collections in public libraries. Libraries may also be interested in an unrelated CD-ROM from DK, The Ultimate Human Body: A Multimedia Guide to the Body and How It Works. With audio and animation, it is available in Windows and Mac versions for $79.95.