The fifth edition of A Practice of Anaesthesia is a major accomplishment for the editors and authors. Eleven associate editors of the fourth edition are joined by 13 colleagues from St Thomas' Hospital, London, in the rewriting of this standard British text.
The change to a double-column layout and the increase in the dimensions of the page have reduced the number of pages by almost 300. Unfortunately, the heavy glossy stock still offers significant reflection in the wrong reading light. Physically, the tome is designed to withstand frequent daily use.
American readers may find the differences in spelling, nomenclature, and units of measure (SI) to be disconcerting at the outset. These minor inconveniences are more than offset by the graceful flow of the text, which belies its multiauthored heritage. There is a minimum of repetition between chapters and consistency of approach, which are the hallmarks of a strong editor.