This constitutes the initial edition of the textbook by James Becker, MD, and Arthur Stucchi, PhD, entitled Essentials of Surgery. It is a new reference, published by Saunders, in which the editors have assembled a panel of well over 50 experts in the field of surgery from various well-known academic medical institutions. The book is designed to present the traditional elements that form an overview of the field. As such, it encompasses some basic science, critical care, and general surgery as well as the various surgical subspecialties. The novelty of the effort, however, stems from its intended audience. As noted in the preface, the text has been engineered specifically with the needs of medical students and junior residents in mind. The first section, for example, deals entirely with student-specific issues, including the topic of core competencies.