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How the Immune System Works Paperback – January 15, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0632044139 ISBN-10: 0632044136 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (January 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0632044136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0632044139
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,486,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I feel that Dr Sompayrac has contributed a worthy book which I personally have enjoyed reading, and I feel it will serve as an ideal introduction to the principles of immunology for students of either a medical or scientific background."

Southampton Health Journal

"...makes a difficult subject like immunology much easier to understand. A fantastic introduction to basic immunology."

2nd Opinion, The Magazine of the Scottish Medical Schools

"...it covers each section of the immune system in the form of 'lectures' in which the author talks to you from the book as though he were in the same room.

A MUST-BUY for anyone having problems understanding the immune system (and, lets face it, who doesn't)?"

Barts and the London Chronicle

"...this brief overview of immunology is superb."

Guy's Gazette, Guy's Hospital, Medical & Dental Schools

From the Back Cover

How the Immune System Works is an irriverent, entertaining way to learn

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Customer Reviews

This book really helped me understand the fundamentals of immunology.
Chris
This is an excellent introduction to immunology that is very well written, clearly presented, and readable.
Doc Dave
I love this book and still go back and read it every once in a while to brush up and review.
Mark S

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 103 people found the following review helpful By toothygrin on May 28, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist and I bought the book to help me to solidify my knowledge of basic immunology.
Since the American Board of Allergy and Immunology only issues 10-year certification --and I took the exam the first time in 1991 -- I have to take a multiple choice recert exam soon. The book is helping me prepare by reviewing current basic Immunology in a very easy to understand (and therefore easy to REMEMBER) fashion.
The prose is not prosaic, it's fun! The writing describes the immune system's structure and functioning clearly and logically. It does an excellent job of tying everything together, which can be difficult with the expanding "octopus" of detail that comprises modern immunology.
I highly recommend this for physicians and students of medicine or immunology.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Garth Snyder on May 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
After slogging through Janeway's _Immunobiology_ and most of a course in immunology, I had memorized a lot of facts but still understood next to nothing about the overall "design" and operation of the immune system. I found _How the Immune System Works_ the perfect antidote to my existential ennui. I recommend it highly and wish there were similar books on other related subjects.

The main pleasure of this book is that it's very "why-oriented" - Sompayrac explains how each mechanism fits into the grand scheme of immunology. Another key innovation is that he points out areas of immunology that aren't well understood yet; that way, you can recognize them as gaps in the science at large rather than as gaps in your own understanding.

Other virtues include brevity, judicious omission of irrelevant detail (this book omits the customary table of 30-odd cytokines along with a list of the 10 or 15 actions of each, for example), and an engaging and readable style.

2006 UPDATE (ORIGINAL REVIEW WAS MAY, 2002): I'm so glad to see this book continuing to get great reviews. Having completed the rest of medical school, I can now say that this is the single highest-value text I encountered on any medical subject.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By James R. Mccall on August 21, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The immune system is distributed throughout the body, but can still usefully be viewed as singular. The body is always under threat from tiny invaders, and it is only the various parts of our immune system, working together, that makes it possible for us to repel them. Without it, we would be dead very quickly.
This book gives a good overview of the immune system, with enough detail to understand how the various cells and tissues do what they do. How does the system recognize invaders? How does it recognize self, and leave self alone? Why is foreign tissue rejected? How can the system go wrong? What is the role of the Major Histocompatibility Complex? How do we get immunity? The mechanisms cells use are molecular�protein, mostly�and the immune system is all about protein switches, detectors, and processors. The above questions and others are answered by invoking the protein mechanisms, and explaining how the cells of the immune system can do the magic that they do in recognizing and responding appropriately to the millions of different possible invaders, and why some parts of the system take longer than others to swing into action.
The only background you really need for this book is an intelligent layman�s interest in science. You should know what proteins are (chains of amino acids), more-or-less how DNA and RNA work, and the ability to follow a technical discussion. The book was written for medical students, but knowledge of anatomy and physiology is not put to use here. The discussion is chatty, informal, and repetitive. Each of the first several chapters ends in a summary diagram of the system interactions that have been discussed up to that point, and each next chapter begins by giving an extensive review of the previous one.
In spite of this, the exposition is confusing.
Read more ›
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Doc Dave on December 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent introduction to immunology that is very well written, clearly presented, and readable. Authors of the standard, and generally much longer, intro texts could probably learn a lot about how to improve their own works by reading this. While the artwork does not compare to the icon-laden figures on practically every page of Janeway and other books, the illustrations are nevertheless well done and not as distracting (ie when something is presented as an illustration, it is there for a reason beyond making the book look flashy). While the depth of coverage is not as extensive as in Janeway and most other intro texts, this is by design, as it is truly an introduction to the subject. As a basic introduction to the field of immunology, or as supplementary reading for an intro course, this book is highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Folger on February 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I am a second year medical student and I wish that more of our books were writen like this. The thing that I most like about this book and Dr.Sompayrac's writing style is that he explains WHY the immune system components work the way they do and shows how the structure of say IgM dictates its function and why it would be the first antibody on the scene of an infection. For me, it makes it so much easier to remember all of the details if I have information like that. The book also reads really well and is interesting. The tone is very conversational and not textbooky which I also like. If you are taking immuno I would highly recommend this book.
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