The long awaited and multiply postponed 6th Edition of Ezra Pound’s “On Biochemistry” continues the tradition of the previous five editions by costing far more than one would reasonably imagine such a book should cost. This is the fourth edition of the text published since Pound’s death, and thus also continues the biochemistry publishing industry’s penchant for postmortem publishing.
Although Pound’s poetry and prose are stunningly beautiful, they serve as poor conduits for the conveyance of complex biochemical concepts such as oxidative phosphorylation or the citric acid cycle. The raw emotion of the reproduced hand drawings is nice, but they look more like poorly drawn genitalia than metabolic pathways and enzyme mechanisms.
The textbook’s beautiful teal green cover belies the thousand pages of dense, lyrically exquisite, but nearly incoherent text within. This is an ideal textbook for both semester long and year long Biochemistry courses, as it is written in such a disjointed and convoluted fashion that it will be difficult for any student to contest even the most flagrantly incorrectly graded exam question.
This is a large book. Weighing in at a solid 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg), this book is good for whacking things. For example, just the other day my cat was up on the kitchen counter eating some raw chicken and I whacked it with the book. It lay unconscious for several minutes, and has not been back up on the kitchen counter since. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone with a cat that tends toward misbehavior. I think it would also work with small dogs.
It has become the industry norm to package biochemistry textbooks with a variety of multimedia extras. Pound’s new edition comes with two CD’s of practice test questions and a DVD of “CSI: The Complete Fifth Season”. However, the CSI DVD in this reviewer’s package was cracked, and the requested replacement had not yet arrived at the time of this writing.
If you only have time to read one biochemistry textbook this year, Ezra Pound’s “On Biochemistry” is the book you want, unless you actually need to learn some biochemistry. This book is destined to become a classic, or perhaps an evidentiary exhibit in a cruelty to animals trial.