An Institution between Covers

Sherwin B. Nuland reviews Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 39th edition, edited by Susan Standring and others, in Scientific American:

GraysThe eminent mid-20th century British historian of medicine F.N.L. Poynter once said of Gray’s Anatomy that “what began as a book has become an institution.”

Like all progressive institutions, this one periodically looks itself over, evaluates its development and takes measures to be sure that it has kept up with the times. Keeping up has occasionally required increasing the complexity of its operations, necessarily expanding its bureaucracy, and seeking new and forward-looking leadership. As the institution among medical books, Gray’s Anatomy has throughout its history continued to do all these things, with the result that it has only improved with age; it is venerable but not hoary.

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