A solid and useful guidebook, designed for fast, on-the-spot reference and better for that purpose than the Red Cross manuals. In this first in a new AMA-sponsored series, the authors--a medical writer in consultation with physicians--have managed to reduce emergency care to a clear list of priorities and actions for each situation (a point of superiority over Heimlich's Emergency Medical Situations). The first section provides general information that the authors suggest be digested immediately; included is advice on using the book, preparing for an emergency (not only what equipment to stock, but the wisdom of knowing the route to the nearest emergency room), and learning and practicing basic techniques (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, bandaging). Here, too, is realistic guidance on when to call the doctor (illness on Friday? pick up the phone immediately) and using ambulances and emergency rooms (""if you will feel relieved by going to the emergency room, then you should do so""). The second section is alphabetically arranged by topics and, for each, specifies symptoms, immediate treatment, and continuing care. Special cautions are also offered for such emergencies as animal bites, heart attacks, and bleeding. All this is set forth in calming, authoritative tones; on threatened suicide, for instance, we're advised: ""The victim may very well change his mind if given the chance. . . and it is that chance you want to provide by diverting his immediate thoughts of self-destruction."" The best available guide for use during an actual emergency.