On first looking into this compendium, the reader may feel less like Cortez staring at the Pacific than like Cortez being asked to swim across it. For this could be a long journey, through 92 chapters written by 150 contributors, many the undoubted leaders in their particular fields of endeavor. Most of the sections are well written, yet the overall "easy readability index" tends to be low, largely because of the complexity of the subjects covered. For this reason many travelers will end up island hopping, skipping from chapter to chapter rather than attempting to cover the text systematically. In either case they will read about the many advances that, as we are told in the preface, "have transformed renal physiology from a crude empirical enterprise into a formidable discipline of explanatory power and technical sophistication."
Formidable, indeed, is this massive work of over 2,000 pages in two heavy volumes,