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Book Review An Introduction to Organometallic Chemistry Organometallchemie. By Ch. Elschenbroich and A. Salzer

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BOOK R E V I E W S
An Introduction to Organometallic Chemistry
Despite the strong tradition of organometallic chemistry
that exists in the German-speaking world, there has for
several decades been a lack of secondary literature in that
language which combines the qualities of competent expertise, balanced content, a modern style, and convenient
presentation. Christoph Elschenbroich and Albrecht Salzer
are therefore to be applauded on having now written a
textbook based on their obviously excellent course of lectures on the subject, namely:
Organometallchemie. By Ch. Ekchenbroich and A. Salzer.
Teubner, Stuttgart 1986. 472 pp., paperback, DM
42.00.--ISBN 3-5 10-03501-4.
The response of this reviewer to the authors’ commendably self-critical reflections in their preface is that no-one
else has ever achieved so much as they have done here!
Furthermore, I predict that this will be a unanimous verdict on the book.
The authors, in a very clever and instructive presentation
based on examples, have managed to extract, from the cornucopia of organometallic reactions, compound classes
and structures, all the important concepts which have become firmly established in this interdisciplinary and complex branch of modern chemistry. The contents are arranged in a conventional way according to groups of elements (“Main-group organometallics, pp. 23-196), types of
ligands (“Transition metal complexes”, pp. 218-384), extent of aggregation (“Metal-metal compounds and transition metal atom cluster compounds”, pp. 385-410), and
applications (“Organometallic homogeneous catalysts”,
pp. 412-441). Nevertheless, the danger of merely producing a list of compounds and reactions has been recognized
and avoided, and the contents of the chapters are well balanced one with another. The authors’ boldness in simplifying the subject matter works to the reader’s advantage by
stimulating him to reflect further on principles of reactivity
and structure, and helps him to recognize the broad features which are common to the organic chemistry of maingroup and sub-group elements. Thus, from the unavoidably large mass of chemical data, there emerges again and
again the underlying plan of this student text, which is
based on showing the resemblances and differences in behaviour between the elements. At points where a deeper
understanding of relationships of a more far-reaching and
general nature becomes necessary, the authors include “digressions” into fundamental aspects of spectroscopy and
bonding theory. This type of presentation will be much appreciated, especially by advanced chemistry students such
as graduates working for higher degrees. However, these
are by no means the only groups of readers who will find
the book useful. An industrial chemist too could save himself much time by reading up on modern catalytic processes in Elschenbroich and Salzer; he would, moreover, obtain an economically priced source of instruction in this
subject, and a review of new developments which are at
present mainly of academic interest, such as multiple
bonds between atoms of silicon or transition metals, or
methods for synthesizing cluster compounds. At the price
of DM 42 this 470-page book is within everyone’s means.
University and technical institute lecturers too will not
704
only thumb twice through this book, once from front to
back, then in reverse, and not just for mere curiosityland
will then reward the authors with gratitude and admiration. We will all learn from the book, will discard o u r old
lectures and insert new material, will refer back to other
monographs cited therein-in short, we will work from
this book!
Compared with other books in the field of organometallic and organo-heteroelement chemistry, including those in
English, “Elschenbroich and Salzer” is a unique achievement, which one hopes will have a stimulating effect on
future standards in the secondary chemical literature. In
view of this high recommendation, it would seem churlish
to search for printing errors in this first edition.
Wolfgang A. Herrmann [NB 822 IE]
Anorganisch-chemisches Institut
der Technischen Universitat Munchen, Garching (FRG)
Syntheses of Fluoroorganic Compounds. By 1. L. Knunyants
and G. G. Yakobson. Springer, Berlin 1985. vii, 299 pp.,
bound, DM 218.00.-1SBN 3-540-15077-3
Despite having been shortened to one volume, this English language version of the two-volume Russian work with
the same title still contains more than 300 synthetic methods for organofluorine compounds. Apart from a few descriptions of preparative methods for intermediates, the
methods nearly all originate from the relevant laboratories
of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. They have previously
been published in Russian language scientific journals, but
English translations exist in only a few cases. This book
therefore provides specialist readers with details, not readily accessible elsewhere, of experimental work in Russian
centers of research in organofluorine chemistry. It is probably the first such publication on this specialist topic in the
English-speaking world.
Some of the method of presentation in this book is undoubtedly borrowed from the well-known “Organic Syntheses” series. A single self-contained chapter is devoted to
each compound, the same formal sequence of presentation
being maintained for each substance. After the chemical
name, the structural and molecular formulae, molecular
weight, and physical data (so far as these are known), a list
of the most important published methods of preparation is
given, followed by the experimental details of the method
itself. I n some cases the chapter concludes with a list of
other compounds having similar structures which can be
prepared by the same method. Evidence of revision of the
previous edition is seen in the inclusion of comments on
critical features of the preparative method described.
The book is divided into three sections, each having a
systematic structure. Each section begins with methods for
preparing fluorinated hydrocarbons, then deals with derivatives containing other halogens as substituents, and
then, so to speak following the conventional structure of
an organic chemistry textbook, treats compounds which
contain the various functional groups. Each section concludes with a list of the numerous literature references
cited in the text. Subject and formula indexes at the end of
the book facilitate searching for particular compounds.
The first section deals with “Fluoroaliphatic Compounds”, and has been compiled by a team of authors at
the Moscow laboratory of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
The main emphasis is on the chemistry of fluoro-olefins
Anqew. Cliem. Int. Ed. Engl. 26 (1987)
No. 7
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