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Key Topics in Neurology

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    Key Topics in Neurology. By pem smith. (Pp 318, £22.95). Published by BIOS Scientific Publishers Ltd, Oxford, 1998. ISBN 1-85996-261-0.

    The title and back cover of the latest addition toNeurology Lite texts contains the usual proclamations. “Concise, key topics, revision aid, essential, review”... the well trailed soundbites demanded by the consumer in the increasingly competitive market of “read less - learn more” books. This book, however, is unusual and distinct. Unlike many rivals it is not an A5 facsimile of a superior parent A3 reference tome. Brevity, so essential to the success of an overview work, has sacrificed neither clarity nor clinical relevance. The strength ofKey Topics in Neurology owes much to the author’s ability to negotiate skilfully the compromises necessary for a successful distillation of a large and complex field. He has not shied from wholesale culling of neurological ballast. The allied ability to distinguish and highlight the salient and relevant from the obscure and historical allows this small book to be surprisingly thorough in its coverage and topicality. There is sufficient up to date information on most areas of neurology such that this book would be useful for specialist registrars albeit without the detail or embellishment they seek. In terms of the aims of this book such observations must be regarded as complimentary.

    My limited criticisms relate to details of layout and presentation. I found the exclusive alphabetical arrangement of chapters mildly disorientating in that, for example, History taking in Neurology is to be found at p 131. Similarly, the absence of diagrams and tables is an unexpected omission as I would imagine that this would have complemented the overall style of the book. These are minor gripes of what in print largely matches the sleeve hype and with a price tag of just £27-50 the book will be welcomed by undergraduates through to specialist registrars.

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