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Edited by R Detels, J McEwen, R Beaglehole, H Tanaka. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp 1955.
The paperback edition of the Oxford Textbook of Public Health has in one volume the same contents as the hardback edition of 2002. The price is a clear advantage over the hardback edition, less than one third of the latter, making the book affordable for practitioners and students.
Compared with the hardback edition, there is nothing new in the contents of this edition. The volumes of the hardback edition are sections in this one volume edition. The first section presents the scope of public health (22 chapters in four parts), the second introduces the methods of public health (38 chapters in four parts), and the third details the practice of public health (41 chapters in four parts).
This book is an up to date text on the important topics of public health. It deals with emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (although SARS is not featured as the contents date from 2002), the challenge of globalisation, and how to solve social inequalities in health. Ethics is given the detail it deserves, in relation to human rights. Some complex and difficult issues are adequately discussed: how to prioritise public health problems, how to identify and carry out cost effective strategies, and the resolution of public health problems not from a disease oriented approach but from a more comprehensive point of view.
In summary, this textbook continues to be an excellent reference for public health practitioners, teachers, and students.