Many people proudly display their so-called coffee-table books to draw visitors' immediate attention — volumes on art, history, and other subjects, too large to fit in a bookcase, and characterized by rich, full-color illustrations. The Atlas of Allergies could be a coffee-table book for physicians. It is superbly illustrated with colorful charts, photographs, and diagrams, but, as in most such works, the text plays second fiddle to the pictures.
The title sets the appropriate tone. The book deals with allergy as a disease, not a medical discipline. Its goal, clearly stated by Dr Patterson in his foreword, is to dramatize the "importance of diagnosis and management of allergic diseases for primary care physicians." This is not a book filled with details of the latest discoveries in allergy or one to be used as a reference source for the established specialist in allergy and clinical immunology (although allergists and clinical immunologists