The practical importance of achalasia far exceeds that suggested by its clinical incidence. Its study has furnished the clinical physiologist with direct, detailed information about the normal neuromuscular activities of the human esophagus. The esophagus without intimate neuromuscular control (in a nutshell all that achalasia's pathophysiology amounts to) has taught us so well that for any new theory about normal esophageal physiology the question must be asked, "Is this consistent with what we know about achalasia?"
It is good to welcome this new monograph on achalasia. It offers a thorough, although brief discussion of all the important aspects of the disease. The personal experiences that are recounted can hardly be matched in their volume and their lucid interpretation anywhere else in the literature. In particular the authors' conclusions about the place of peroral dilation and esophagomyotomy for treatment are cleverly and convincingly handled. No doubt many patients who travel long