Not since the late Homer Smith's charming discourses on life, evolution, and the kidney--e.g., From Fish to Philosopher--has that organ inspired much popular writing. To the pros--nephrologists like Smith--the kidney is second only to the brain in beauty and complexity. To the laymen the kidney may be at best a delicacy--rognons de veau--or, more likely, an organ associated with unmentionable functions or incurable disease. The picture is changing, however, and the authors, nephrologist Glabman and science writer Freese, write enthusiastically of the kidney's infinite finesse. It cleanses and purifies the blood, maintains the body's salt-water balance, secretes hormones, and regulates its maintenance and function to suit the vagaries of diet, exercise, and the diurnal cycle. The sections on care and treatment of disease describe the primary kidney disorders such as pyelonephritis or nephrosis, secondary conditions arising from systemic disease such as diabetes or hypertension, and a host of genitourinary tract disorders which can also affect the kidney (cystitis, enlarged prostate, etc.). Twenty years ago an account like this could offer little hope for ""end-stage renal disease."" Today improved techniques of dialysis and the marked success of kidney transplants profoundly alter prognosis. This is a book that should find immediate appeal among kidney patients, friends, and family, but also will inform the curious mind about this clever organ.