Immunology at a Glance 10th Edition
This is not a textbook for immunologists, who already have plenty of excellent volumes to choose from. Rather, it is aimed at all those on whose work immunology impinges but who may hitherto have lacked the time to keep abreast of a subject that can sometimes seem impossibly fast-moving and intricate.
Yet everyone with a background in medicine or the biological sciences is already familiar with a good deal of the basic knowledge required to understand immunological processes, often needing no more than a few quick blackboard sketches to see roughly how they work. This is a book of such sketches, which have proved useful over the years, recollected (and artistically touched up) in tranquillity.
The Chinese sage who remarked that one picture was worth a thousand words was certainly not an immunology teacher, or his estimate would not have been so low! In this book the text has been pruned to the minimum necessary for understanding the figures, omitting almost all historical and technical details, which can be found in the larger textbooks listed on the next page. In trying to steer a middle course between absolute clarity and absolute up to dateness, we are well aware of having missed both by a comfortable margin. But even in immunology, what is brand new does not always turn out to be right, while the idea that any form of presentation, however unorthodox, will make simple what other authors have already shown to be complex can only be, in Dr Johnson’s heartfelt words, ‘the dream of a philosopher doomed to wake a lexicographer’. Our object has merely been to convince workers in neighbouring fields that modern immunology is not quite as forbidding as they may have thought.
It is perhaps the price of specialization that some important aspects of nature lie between disciplines and are consequently ignored for many years (transplant rejection is a good example). It follows that scientists are wise to keep an eye on each others’ areas so that in due course the appropriate new disciplines can emerge – as immunology itself did from the shared interests of bacteriologists, haematologists, chemists and the rest.
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