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M Tableman, J S Kim. Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2004, US$69.95, pp xv+260. ISBN 1-58488-408-8
This well written introductory text book contains a succinct description of the survival analysis concepts nicely supplemented with examples and S-PLUS commands unlike typical textbooks on statistics or S-PLUS that serve just a single purpose. The didactic nature of this book makes easy reading. Each chapter begins with a list of learning objectives that capture the content to be covered, a gentle introduction to the topics using real life examples, implementation of the methods through detailed S-PLUS commands, and concise interpretation of the results. There is minimum emphasis on theory, however adequate references are provided for enthusiastic readers. Exercises, primarily applied problems, at the end of each chapter sufficiently encompass the material covered. In addition to the standard concepts of survival analysis like Kaplan-Meier, log-rank, model building (Weibull, Cox regression, etc), and diagnostics, the book also covers advanced topics such as competing risks, cutpoint analysis using bootstrap and regression quantiles, which is uncommon for an introductory text book.
The book introduces the basics of survival analysis, thereby targeting the beginners. On a similar note an introduction to S-PLUS commands either in an appendix or as part of the first chapter would have been beneficial. All the commands are intrinsic to survival analysis that a reader with no background in S-PLUS might find it difficult to follow. The concepts and the commands are intermingled in the chapters resulting in a loss of continuity of the thought process in a few places. Supplementing the concepts with example(s) and reserving the S-PLUS commands and outputs to the end of each chapter would have made it more coherent.
Overall, this “practical” book on survival analysis using S-PLUS is well suited for an introductory course in applied statistics for students with some background in S-PLUS.