Authoritative, well-written monographs devoted to highly specialized or exotic areas of medical interest are not terribly uncommon. When, however, one appears which concerns itself with a sphere of widespread clinical importance and common interest to both internists and surgeons, still retains scientific merit in depth, and is charming as well, it is a find. This text by Clarence J. Schein, senior author—in 1966—of an excellent monograph on the common bile duct, is just such a book, devoted to the subject of acute cholecystitis. There is no other such text, and to our knowledge never has been, in the English language.
That the subject matter is of enormous clinical importance really requires very little justification. Epidemiologic data on cholelithiasis and its complications show it, according to the author, to constitute the fourth most frequent cause for hospitalization and the most common indication for abdominal surgery in the adult, and approximately half