The task of continuing the grand tradition of the "Bockus" textbook, long the acknowledged definitive repository of knowledge in gastroenterology, has been masterfully accomplished under the editorship of J. Edward Berk. The assistance of a distinguished editorial board and contributions by nearly 300 authors have combined to make this a truly outstanding text. The book is huge (4730 pages) and divided into seven volumes, with literally thousands of references and a useful index. As with any multiauthored text, variation in style and performance are to be expected. Any review is necessarily sketchy—the following offers brief insights into each of the volumes.
Volume 1 covers the approach to the patient. Since a "thorough history is unquestionably the most important part of the clinical examination of patients with gastrointestinal complaints," the initial 15 chapters discuss symptoms of gastrointestinal disease. Their contents range from a reproduction of the classic chapter on abdominal pain