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Here is an impressive tour de force which could also be called “40 years’ experience in microscopy of tissues from rheumatic disease patients”. The author, born in 1929, has probably seen more joint specimens under his microscope than anyone else and he is still head of a WHO centre of joint pathology in Mainz, Germany. This work is essentially based on his personal observations of histology and electron microscopy on biopsy, surgical, and perhaps postmortem material sent for diagnosis to his institution. It contains 31 chapters dealing with individual conditions and ends with a chapter called “Possibilities and limitations of synovial biopsy”, which summarises Fassbender’s legacy on three pages. Although the synovium is a loose tissue without definite structural components, it is …