James E House
2012 | 848pp | £60.99
Reviewed by Paul Duckmanton
Originally written to support a single semester course at two universities in Illinois, US, Inorganic chemistry provides a comprehensive overview of the subject from the basics of atomic structure, through the various bonding theories for solid and solution state inorganic chemistry, to more applied topics such as bioinorganic chemistry and catalysis.
All topics are covered at an undergraduate level, in a clear and concise style. The broad scope of this book tends to give equal treatment to the many areas of inorganic chemistry, which at times can lead to a lack of detail or only rudimentary coverage of some aspects.
Early on in the book, the very thorough discussion of atomic structure is welcome. This section is particularly easy to understand and while it takes a physical chemistry approach in its descriptions, care has been taken to avoid becoming over complicated. This approach is seen throughout the book, with physical chemistry introduced when required and in a careful manner. More advanced topics however, such as the ligand-field theory of bonding in transition metal complexes, seem to be poorly covered in later chapters.
The use of pictures within the book is generally good, and they are used extensively to aid the discussion of theory. While some diagrams seem simplistic in comparison to other texts on the subject, a judicious use of colour means that these do not confuse the reader. The problems at the end of each chapter are an excellent inclusion, allowing students to practice applying the knowledge covered. This is marred slightly by the fact that answers have been omitted; personally, I feel that students may not want to attempt these questions if they have no way of assessing their own progress.
While I would not recommend this book as a sole resource for an undergraduate student, I believe it would be a welcome additional resource for reference, particularly for the more basic topics that can occasionally be neglected or forgotten as students advance through a course.