Fundamentals of Biostatistics

by Stanley S. Schor, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Biometrics, Temple University of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education, School of Medicine, Philadelphia. 312 pages. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, N. Y., 1968. $8.95

Robert C. ElstonDepartment of Biostatistics and Pathology University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

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Here is a book on statistical method intended for the medical student and physician. The author acknowledges in the preface that the illustrations used will cause medical experts to shudder, and that, to make the concepts easily understood, he has taken liberties “which would make theoretical statisticians cringe, advanced applied statisticians cower, and pure mathematicians … pretend the book does not exist.” The sad thing about this book is not so much that these liberties have been taken, but that the result will so often still leave the reader perplexed and bewildered.

The first chapter introduces the subject by discussing general topics, using terms that are not defined until much later in the book—“as a result some points made in this chapter may not be fully understood.” This is hardly the way to introduce statistics to the beginner. The author repeats the same mistake, probably unwittingly, later on in the book—terms such as probability sample and normal curve are used long before they are explained.