Dr. Howard and Dr. Jordan, and their collaborators, have compiled an excellent treatise on an intriguing and challenging area of surgical concern. The book is quite complete, up-to-date, and very well documented. Although several sections have been written by different authors, there is a commendable degree of continuity and readability. The authors emphasize the relative incompleteness of current knowledge, yet they bring together a surprising amount of information which bears on this subject. Thus, anyone who studies this book will be struck by the many deficiencies in knowledge and the many problems which remain.
The first part of the book deals with basic ideas of the pancreas. Both important facts and fancies are highlighted and considered at some length. Here I found one of the best discussions of the pathogenesis of acute and chronic pancreatitis. The facts are: (1) the alcoholic state is a major cause of pancreatitis; (2) a