Strong, picturesque prose generally characterizes British medical writing. The clinical acumen and historical sense displayed are usually second to none. It must be admitted that a text book is primarily a reference work, but the forte of its authors ought to be in evidence. This Textbook of the Rheumatic Diseases, now in its third edition, is therefore a disappointment. One would have expected more from a group of Great Britain's most distinguished rheumatologists.
There are some delights, but the overall effect is uneven. Despite current references, most of the book reads as if it could have been written ten years ago. Some of the viewpoints are parochial and fail to express the international medical consensus. Nationalism may be a luxury in medical writing; too often, this book reminds one of the classic British weather report, "Fog in the channel; the continent is isolated." Some of the authors managed to