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Textbook of Human Virology

Textbook of Human Virology

295 VIRUS 00779 Textbook of Human Virology. Edited by Robert Book, 2nd edn. ISBN 0-8151-0667-X. $99.00 B. Belshe, 1991, Mosby-Year The first edit...

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295

VIRUS

00779

Textbook of Human Virology. Edited by Robert Book, 2nd edn. ISBN 0-8151-0667-X. $99.00

B. Belshe, 1991, Mosby-Year

The first edition of this Human Virology text appeared in 1984 and the publication of a second edition is welcome and timely. The second edition is substantially larger by virtue of increased page size, though the page number, at about 1000, is no greater. The organisation of the book is essentially unchanged, though the chapter on ‘Methods of characterisation of viruses and virus macromolecules’ has wisely been deleted (it could never more than scratch the surface) and predictably retroviruses and hepatitis viruses are given much greater prominence. A book with approximately forty authors inevitably varies in quality and in the extent to which individual chapters are seriously updated. Furthermore, molecular aspects of virology are given very different emphasis in different chapters. Thus the chapter on influenza includes an excellent section on the structure and function of haemagglutinin, and the function of the HIV regulatory proteins is adequately covered using friendly diagrams, but no information is given on the molecular biology of cytomegalovirus and in Chapter 39 we are offered references from 1967 and 1979 to indicate that vaccinia virus exhibits temporal control of gene expression. Textbook of Human WoEogy cannot claim to be an adequate text on the molecular biology of human viruses. The introducto~ chapters on replication and immunology are useful but lack detail, while the extent to which these topics are covered in chapters on individual viruses is very variable. The strength of the book is that it provides a valuable source of information on the natural history, epidemiology and pathology of all human viruses. Because of its relative weakness on fundamental aspects of virology ‘Belshe’ cannot compete with ‘Fields’ as a comprehensive text. But, as a single volume, Belshe has the virtue of being portable and at $99 is very good value for money. A.C. Minson