Looking for good textbooks

Bill Saidel saidel at crab.rutgers.edu
Tue Aug 6 09:40:02 EST 1996

To follow the textbook dialogue: 

>> CARD068 at uabdpo.dpo.uab.edu wrote:
>> : I am beginning my quest for knowledge in the neurosciences.  I have a
>> : Ph.D. in the Biomedical Sciences and I am looking for good books on
>> : neurobiology and neurophysiology.  I need some basics and advanced
>> : topics.  These could be covered in seperated books if needed.  Any help
>> : or advice would be greatly appreciated.
>> From what I've heard, Neuroscience by Kendall is also commonly called the 
>> Bible of Neuroscience by many neurologists.  It covers the basics as well as 
>> going into the details - a fairly thick book.  I believe it's in its 4th 
>> edition now.

>This depends on exactly what you're looking for. The book the poster
>is referring to is Kandel, Schwartz, & Jessel; Principles of Neural
>Science.  The book is extensive in many ways, but is in many ways
>also too ambitious and very incomplete, particularly in areas of
>higher function.  It is in many ways a medical text, so it is
>poorly referenced and treats outdated theories s facts. Nonetheless,
>it can provide a good overview, at least of the status-quo.  In 
>the areas of sensation and motor systems it is actually
>quite good. They also released a more trimmed down version of this
>book last year, aside from being easier to carry it's not much
>different. I should mention that the book does have outstanding illustrations,
>which I've hocked many times for presentations :)
> If you are strictly interested in neurphys & neurobio, you
>might want something like "From Neuron to Brain", Shepherd's Neurobiology,
>or Hille's Ionic channels of excitable membranes. If you are interested
>in higher function, I would recommend the a psychobiology text like
>Kolb & Whishaw's Human Neuropsychology.  There are also
>Neuroendocrinology texts and computational neuroscience texts, depending
>on what you're interested in. Good luck, the field is vast...


My 2-bits:  Stephan has characterized Kandel et al. quite well. I
used it in a course and was mighty unhappy. I recommend Shepherd's book
as a first introduction, and his Synaptic Organization of the Brain 
as well. A simpler text is the newer Bear et al. book
"Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain"...a good sophomore introduction. 
	For strictly electrophysiology at a descriptive stage, I'd
 add Junge's book "Nerve and Muscle Excitation", 3rd edition. This 
book has nice problem sets.  For a general introduction, I would not
omit Bullock et al's "Introduction to Nervous System".  
	I think the most difficult step in picking a book is your 
outlook - medical, neuroethological, cellular...  Then you can 
narrow down the many texts that have appeared in the last 5 or so 
	If you can find it, Bernard Katz's "Nerve, Muscle, and 
Synapse", classical though it may be, is well worth the effort.

Good hunting.

Bill Saidel				Rutgers-Camden, Biology
Laboratory of Neuromorphonomy
saidel at crab.rutgers.edu

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