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Book Review   |    
Psychopathology: The Evolving Science of Mental Disorder
William H. Wilson,, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 1998; doi:
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edited by Steven Matthysse, Deborah L. Levy, Jerome Kagan, and Francine M. Benes; New York City, Cambridge University Press, 1996, 633 pages, $69.95

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In the 26 chapters of this multiauthored text, 24 distinguished scientists offer cogent, up-to-date reviews of psychopathology, with particular emphasis on schizophrenia. The editors, all from Harvard University, provide highly readable introductions. The papers are grouped according to four themes: brain mechanisms, development, thinking, and genetics. Areas that are addressed include molecular genetics, cognitive processes, neurochemistry, and neuroanatomy.

The volume is a fitting tribute to Professor Philip S. Holzman of Harvard University, and to the 60th year of the schizophrenia research program of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, which supported preparation of the book. Unlike the hastily written and quickly thrown-together articles that fill too many festschrifts, the contributions to this book are briskly intelligent, carefully written, and meticulously edited. The content is pleasantly varied, with some authors providing historical overview and others focusing on current findings from their laboratories. The book is written by scientists and for scientists; it is not a popularization. Be prepared for graduate-student-level material.

As the slipcover asserts, "The study of mental disorder has evolved from a primarily descriptive discipline into a mature science with strong biological underpinning that incorporates social and developmental data." Readers who have a serious interest in the science of schizophrenia will find this an exhilarating overview of the field.

Dr. Wilson is associate professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.




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