A common medical problem with historical implications often becomes the subject of a monograph. The history of spontaneous pneumothorax and its identification and treatment touches medical antiquity and includes the eras of Hippocrates, Parre, and the great wars and extends to the current time. During the past 80 years of medical advance, the mortality associated with spontaneous pneumothorax has been reduced from roughly 65% to approximately 1%. Thus, marked progress has been made in managing spontaneous pneumothorax and related complications.
The major merit of the monograph is the complete and exhaustive review of previously reported series of spontaneous pneumothorax, sprinkled with the authors' immense personal experience with this problem. Much use is made of previously published material. The references are mostly old, however, and indeed only four references from 1964 and two from 1965 are included in the entire text.
Reading the monograph gives one the feeling of being