by R. Pollitzer M.D. (formerly of the Division of Epidemiological and Health Statistical Services, WHO), 698 pp., illustrated, with 2 in color. WHO Monograph Series No. 22. New York, Columbia University Press, International Documents Service, 1954. Price $10 cloth, $9 paper; £ 3/5/0 cloth, £ 3/0/0 paper; Sw. fr. 40 cloth, Sw. fr. 36 paper; (French edition in preparation)
The publication of this critical and definitive volume on the biology of plague is a most important event in itself in the history of knowledge on the subject. It is indeed a worthy summing up of all aspects of the host-parasite relationship in plague and is a masterful example of a form of scholarship which has all but disappeared from the literature of medical microbiology and infectious diseases.
The author has arranged the presentation in ten chapters, among which to the reviewer the most outstanding are those devoted to the history and distribution of plague, the epidemiology and the control and prevention of plague. In the historical section some controversial problems are thoroughly examined. The weighing of evidence in this and indeed in all subsequent chapters is prodigious.
The chapters dealing with bacteriological and immunological problems are exceedingly useful in their content of critical discussion.