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Edited by S Standring. Churchill Livingstone: Elsevier, 2004, ISBN 00443071683.
This icon of anatomical literature was launched in 1858. Henry Gray was 25 years old when he first conceived of writing a comprehensive anatomy text. Three years later the book was produced. Though Gray’s clear prose was a major step forward from contemporary works, its major advantage was the size and quality of the illustrations produced by Henry Carter. He was a contemporary of Gray in St George’s Anatomy department but subsequently went to work for the East India Company before the first edition was published. Gray himself saw the success of the first and second edition, only to die shortly after from smallpox in 1861.
The subsequent years have seen many changes in how anatomy is taught—if taught at all. Certainly its key position in undergraduate medical training in the UK has declined along with the number of hours in the syllabus. As a result the public can rest easy in their beds knowing our junior doctors can confidently, competently, and empathically say to the patient they have no idea what their radiograph shows or indeed what structures may have been damaged following a fracture. Inevitably therefore anatomy is becoming a post-graduate subject, studied by people with a particular area of interest but little overall anatomical knowledge. To meet this need there has been an exponential rise in the number of books, CDs, and internet sites detailing comprehensive or specific anatomical areas of the body.
The 39th Edition of Gray’s therefore comes …
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