A most unlikely classic!Over the past forty years, this unassuming little book has become one of the most popular guides for medical and nursing students, residents, fellows, and laboratory technicians to learn how to evaluate peripheral blood smears under the microscope. The first edition of The Morphology of Human Blood Cells (TMOHBC) was published in 1970 by Abbott, a manufacturer of medical instruments and laboratory devices. As far as I know, Abbott has never been a significant player in the medical publishing business. The book was originally created as an in-house manual, presumably to help employees refine skills needed in the use and development of Abbott's line of hematology instruments. Somehow, in the lost history of commonplace items, this book was discovered by medical educators, and was appreciated for its eloquence and utility. It's been around now for forty years, and the current (5th) edition is not significantly different from the original. In the competitive microcosm of medical publishing, that's quite an extraordinary feat! What's so special?So what accounts for TMOHBC's broad and enduring appeal? Rarely is a textbook so succinct, so well-organized, and so beautifully illustrated as this. Since the focus of the manual is on morphology, success depends on the quality of the illustrations. Dorothy Sturm's fantastically detailed watercolors depict human blood cells in every stage of development and pathologic change. Even if you have no interest in hematology, there is no denying the virtuosity of the artwork. Take a look at color plate #10-D on page 34, and just try to tell me that isn't art! In my humble opinion, she's every bit as good as the much more lauded Frank Netter. Since the text follows hematopoesis (all lineages) all the way back to stem cells, this manual is also useful for teaching the interpretation of bone marrow biopsies. The accompanying text is not quite so brilliant as the artwork, and is in no way substitute for a comprehensive hematology textbook. "the good stuff"It may not have been the authors' intent, but I found this book very useful in preparing for medical board exams. TMOHBC has the unbeatable combination of being small and manageable (92 pages), yet comprehensive enough to include all the "high-yield" morphologies the board exams seem to like. This is kind of a side subject, but it is well known that American medical board exams do not necessarily test the most important or most relevent information needed for clinical practice. They tend to have favorite concepts and testing points, which anecdotally come up over and over again, with a frequency out of all preportion to their utility. Students and residents studying for their various boards have a sense of this, and know these favored topics as "high-yield". Every board preparatory book claims to contain the high yield topics (very much like the fabled "good contacts" in Glengarry Glen Ross), but too many of them completely miss the target. In my experience, this manual actually does contain a lot of "high-yield" information. If you have board exams in your future, that should make this little book worth its weight in platinum!