This small book richly deserves its place among the classics; in its 51st year, it has come of age as an historical volume as well. It is written clearly in the English tradition, and the occasional archaic usages ("cannot be gainsaid," "taking unction to oneself") provide a sense of continuity with the past without obscuring the facts.
Above all else, the book is directed towards bedside diagnosis in the Osler tradition. Laboratory studies and sophisticated instrumentation are minimized, and even the availability of radiographic facilities is not taken for granted. Unlike those books that declare the importance of the history and physical examination and then bury the reader in lengthy discussions of the latest findings in immunology and clinical chemistry, this book consistently emphasizes the value of historical data and physical findings. One suspects that the diagnostic value of certain findings (eg, the location of referred pain) is less specific