Zinsser's Microbiology has a long and venerable history; I am sure that many physicians reading this review learned their basic microbiology from this textbook. The present edition is the 15th and is intended primarily for medical students working within the framework of a modern core curriculum. I found the overall quality of the book uneven. Many of the sections are extremely illuminating and informative and can stand by themselves as definitive references. Unfortunately, there are other sections that contain information not consonant with most modern thought and that may mislead the student.
At particular fault in these sections are the areas dealing with the application of basic microbiological information to the clinical situation. For example, the following statements appear: "The streptococci are important in rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis, but the exact mechanism by which they produce these diseases in man has not been established" (p 377); "If allergy to