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The “Ryder aids” to the MRCP have become essential reading for intending candidates and this new addition to the stable will no doubt prove equally successful. However I must admit to reservations about a book whose aim is to help candidates through an examination. One hopes for a loftier purpose in a medical textbook, and I have further reservations about the opening sentence: “The essence of medicine lies in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions”. Having said that, the book succeeds admirably in its aims. It is set out in a question and answer format based around specimenx rays. Sometimes the tenor of the question gives clues as to the radiological diagnosis but this is probably inevitable. The answers are sensible and concise and the radiological abnormalities are nicely illustrated on thex rays, which are also reproduced in the answer section. A short discussion of the relevant medical condition accompanies each answer. The reproduction of the contrastx rays, computed tomograms, and magnetic resonance images is generally good, although less successful for the plain films and in particular for some of the chestx rays the reproduction is poor; I was hard pressed to spot the calcific foci on p134.
Generally the breadth of cover is good, although sometimes tending to the obscure, for example, Werner's syndrome, at the expense of the more common, for example, no chest x ray of left heart failure or collapse of an upper lobe. There are a number of irritating errors associated with a first edition: a mislabelledx ray, two questions posed but not answered, an inappropriate plural, and a sentence repeated. With these provisos, this book is to be strongly recommended, although I would suggest that there is more to medicine, and to passing the membership, than just making a correct diagnosis.