For over half a century, the appearance of a new edition of the British classic Topley and Wilson's Principles of Bacteriology, Virology and Immunity has been a major event for microbiologists on both sides of the Atlantic. Topley and Wilson's text has always embodied depth, accuracy, practical experience, and historical perspective in a way that sets it apart from other books in the field.
It was not until the seventh edition (1983) that this text gave way to the inevitable multiauthor format, although the fifth and sixth editions by Wilson and Miles acknowledged "the help of" a small group including one of the current general editors, M. Tom Parker. The eighth edition has 128 contributors but follows the same organization as earlier editions, with separate sections (now volumes) devoted to general microbiology and immunology, systematic bacteriology, bacterial diseases, and virology (not reviewed here). A new, largerpage and -type format makes