There is little to be said about this second of Asimov’s textbooks that isn’t said about the first, Biochemistry and Human Metabolism. Inasmuch as it is a textbook, it’s intended for a specialized audience—in this case, nursing students—and so has little interest for the general reader. Actually, given the stereotypes of the 1950’s and the realities of medical care, this one is slightly better than the earlier textbook—the educational needs of nurses are slightly less stringent than those of doctors.

This book—if it has any interest at all—is mostly interesting as an echo: both of earlier science texts by Asimov (Biochemistry and Human Metabolism and The Chemicals of Life) and of later ones (most particularly Life and Energy).

Otherwise, one who is not a student or an extremely ardent fan of Asimov would be well-advised not to bother with this text. The science is 40 years out of date as of the time of writing (PNA anyone?) and the writing generally uninteresting. Asimov did much, much better once he freed himself from the shackles of collaboration on an advanced text like this.

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