At one time, American physicians seeking a textbook of renal function and disease found only Homer W. Smith's 1951 magnum opus, The Kidney: Structure and Function in Health and Disease. Now practitioners and students must choose from an abundant array of nephrology texts, ranging from short, through substantial, to gargantuan. Entering this competition is a new offering that is attractive yet oddly difficult to categorize.
Attractive features are its generally clear writing, use of illustrative case examples in many chapters (the cases are described but unfortunately not discussed in relation to the text), readable layout, and choice of typography. Although the text is multiauthored, the primary authors (also the editors) contributed several of the chapters and have maintained reasonable control. There is evident sensitivity to many of the recently "hot" topics in clinical nephrology, such as magnesium balance, drug-induced interstitial nephritis, and IgA nephropathy (although I did not find a