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Pediatric Neurosurgery.

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    Pediatric Neurosurgery. Edited by m choux, c di rocco, a d hockley, et al . (Pp 875, £170.00). Published by Churchill Livingstone, London, 1999. ISBN 0 4430 5630 7.

    In a suitably resourced healthcare system it is no longer acceptable for children to receive neurosurgical care from a surgeon who only occasionally dabbles with “small adults”. Those who provide paediatric neurosurgical care must understand the differences between the developing nervous system and the degenerating one that our adult colleagues have to deal with. Likewise it is no longer appropriate to add the odd chapter on children onto a predominantly adult textbook. This multiauthor textbook is therefore welcome and should be on the bookshelf of any department where paediatric neurosurgery is carried out.

    It is in competition with two other multiauthor textbooks, all unimaginatively called “Pediatric Neurosurgery”. For the next edition I would advise the publishers to create some distance from the other two by spelling the title properly, for the main difference between this book and the others is that it is predominantly European in its authorship and style, whereas the others are almost exclusively North American. All three books are comprehensive and well written by leaders in the field and the differences between them are predominantly of style. The North American books I find a little too businesslike, being the type of books you just want to look things up in. This European book conveys the same information in a more relaxed style which I find informative, entertaining, and more readable than the competition.

    I think that an institution performing paediatric neurosurgery should have all three books in the department. An individual practising or planning a career in paediatric neurosurgery should have at least one, the choice being dependent on which style suits that person. Before being asked to review this volume I had already purchased all three The American books I keep in my office where I can easily consult them for the odd fact or reference. This book stays on our children's ward where its style encourages all staff to pick it up and enjoyably read about the conditions they are treating.