Doctor William Bennett Bean, dean of American medical literati, dons pith helmet and boots for this one. Armed only with a trusty entourage of 897 references, a passion for clinical observation, and a talented pen, he sets out to chart the vast formidable wilderness of medical exotica. His safari through the eponymic overgrowth follows a tortuous path, but frequent glimpses of wit and color flash like patches of bright sunlight under the canopy of somber, bizarre and often grotesque diseases. For the most part, it is a bleak scene, largely populated by irreversible medical disorders of varying degrees of morbidity and mortality.
The book is arranged alphabetically (although for some reason "Bleeding" precedes "Air") to afford some semblance of organization. But the general impact is kaleidoscopic, as one finds from alkaptonuria amyloidosis-angiomatosis cheek-by-jowl on sequential pages.
The comprehensiveness of such a discourse on this broad field is virtually impossible to