Twenty years ago the late John Ryle, Regius Professor of Physic of Cambridge University, welcomed two hundred new medical students with an address entitled "The Hand." Without notes he talked for an hour on the fund of information about a person which can be obtained from careful observation of his hands. He clearly showed how even small details yield clues to his habits and hobbies, his job, his personality, and his diseases.
I was in that audience. Already determined to be a surgeon, I that day resolved to become a hand surgeon. Ever since then I have searched for a book which would illustrate Ryle's teachings; The Hand as a Mirror of Systemic Disease is such a book.
It is probably unfair to the book that it should be reviewed by one who spends most of his life operating upon and writing about the hand. Hand surgery is an area