World Geography of Human Diseases, A

edited by G. Melvin Howe. xxviii + 621 pages, illustrated. Academic Press, Inc., (London) Ltd., 24–28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DX. 1977. $46.90; £24.00

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  • Department of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02115

If the reader of “A World Geography of Human Diseases” accepts Professor Howe's preface that the purpose of this book is to “demonstrate the global variability and spatial patterns of disease,” that the diseases selected are “the personal choice of the editor” and that “the treatment of the subject matter tends to differ in practically every case” with no attempt “to produce uniformity of view or literary style,” then a perusal of this multiauthored volume will be extremely rewarding. If the reader seeks a comprehensive, carefully documented analysis of a well defined group of diseases directed at a single audience, (s)he will be less satisfied. There is something for everyone in this book and that indeed may be its major fault. But despite an uneven style, a lack of correlation from chapter to chapter and the insufficient coverage of certain major diseases, the book effectively represents the complexity of factors which influence the global interaction of man, disease and the environment.