This book review is reprinted from Summer 2008, 27:1 edition, with permission from The Homeopath.
The Society of Homeopaths
The Essential Synthesis
By Frederic Schroyens
1 The Essential Synthesis
By Frederik Schroyens
hardback, 1980 pages, ISBN 0955715105;
2 Textbook of Repertory Language
By Frederik Schroyens & Peter Vint,
paperback 242 pages, ISBN 0955715112;
3 The Essential Synthesis on CD;
Homeopathic Book Publishets, London, 2007.
Reviewed by Petra Wood
About the Author:
Perra Wood RSHom lives with her family in West Wales. She studied at the Welsh School of Homoeopathy. Her passion for spreading the news led her into giving talks early on during her studies. She now regularly runs first aid and community education courses.
After years of ever-increasing sizes of repertories this is a step back - to essentials. This repertory is truly compact and you no longer need a travel case to carry your repertory! Printed in India by B Jain Publishers, The Essential Synthesis has a nicely familiar feel for those who grew up in college with the Indian edition Kent Repertory. There is an easy access thumb index and two page markers (which in my copy are unfortunately too short to be of any use).
Frederik Schroyens has reduced the information to usable levels: the sources have been selected to cover only the most reliable: many of the later provings have not been included, such as some by Jeremy Sherr or Misha Norland. This raises issues about the process of deciding which remedies and sources to include. but it also shows most clearly the aim for this new Essential repertory: 'Concise, Reliable, Accessible'. After all, Synthesis 9.1 is available with the most comprehensive information to date.
But the restriction in sources is not the only way in which this book has been reduced to a minimum: Cross-references to rubrics for example, have been restricted to three main ones and all chapter references are reduced to four letters. To me the most important 'saving', is the omission of author abbreviations in the printed book. Together with white paper (yellow in Synthesis 9.1) and a larger font size than Synthesis 9.1, this dramatically improved the readability.
There is a fascinating account of the adventures of Dr Ahmed Currim, who spent years tracking down Kent's own annotated copy of his Repertory. Shades of Indiana Jones, he tracked down the document, by now torn up, in rural India. The results are added into this edition.
A paperback textbook and a CD accompany the repertory. The CD features all the information omitted in the printed book, including full author references and all rubric cross-references. It also gives background information on the history of repertories, as well as a thorough article on the families of remedies. There is a very comprehensive list of relationships of remedies. The references for these relationships are only provided with a full Radar computer program.
The textbook offers a list of remedy abbreviations, an index of words and of localisations. As a user of Roger van Zandvoort's The Complete Repertory I found the latter particularly useful, as the localisations are not done in the same way. Also included is a repertory for veterinary symptoms and concepts, claimed to be a new long-awaited venture.
I would have preferred the relationships of remedies available in print and the veterinary repertory on the CD. The CD Rom is written for Windows OS; I have been assured that it is accessible by Mac users if they can run Windows on their Mac.
I would like recommend this new repertory to all new students and to those who want to travel light. In an ideal world I would use The Essential Synthesis backed up by a comprehensive computer repertorisation program.