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Book Review Catenanes Rotaxanes and Knots. By G

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Greek, for example, or judges or politicians) will realize
how much their existence depends on chemistry and how
much joy and wonder can be derived from a knowledge of
nature. Specialists too may benefit from an overall view
of a large part of the field of modern chemistry, from seeing
their own particular subject within the context of chemistry as a whole.
Hans Musso [NB 32 IE]
Catenanes, Rotaxanes and Knots. By G. Schill. Academic
Press, New York-London, 1971. 1st Edit., vii, 192 pp.,
numerous figures, bound Xi 11.00.
This book is no. 22 in the series “Organic Chemistry; A
Series of Monographs”, edited by A . II: Blomquist, which
has quickly acquired a high reputation through many excellent monographs on interesting and topical fields from
the pens of experts.
The book opens with a brief account of the history, structure, nomenclature, and stereochemistry of the types of
compounds named in the title. The general part (19 pages)
ends with a few words on their natural occurrence. The
second part begins with the fundamental methods for the
synthesis of [2]-catenanes. This is folIowed by a detailed
description of experimental efforts to solve this problem,
which is fascinating for any preparative chemist (about 100
pages). Special emphasis is placed on the characterization
and proof of structure ofthe compounds and the demonstration of their structure by mass spectroscopy.The subsequent
sections on [3]-catenanes and [2]-rotaxanes are similarly
arranged (about 10 pages each). The last section presents
concepts and investigations on knots and on doubly twisted
and higher catenanes and rotaxanes (11 pages). A table
containing all compounds of this type so far isolated concrudes the text (10 pages).
The book is clearly, sensibly, and critically written. It is not
a distilled extract of the existing material, with a straightforward description of the successes, but rather a systematically arranged account of all syntheses and approaches,
including those that were unsuccessful, abandoned, or un-
published. Once the reader has worked his way into the
book (which will not be without effort to some), he will be
caught up in the dramatic development of every single step,
with all its disappointments and difficulties. Impressed by
the experimental work and the tenacity with which the aim
has been pursued, he will be unable to lay the book aside.
The drive of the initiator and the author’s independent
contribution can be discerned in many places. It is not
intended as a textbook for younger students ; however, the
advanced chemist will learn much from it, even if he is not,
and does not intend to become, involved in this particular
field. This type of presentation demonstrates how a clear
and simple, but experimentally very difficult concept can
be empirically realized in the end by classical methods.
The printing and the numerous, sometimes large formulas
are generally free from errors and very good. In places, the
reader could progress more easily if the text dealing with a
certain compound and its formula were closer together.
It is often necessary to interrupt one’s train of thought to
search for a formula on the preceding or following page.
The steric structures of many compounds are shown very
clearly by the figures in a number of places (e. g. pages 1,
3, and 60). It would also have been useful in many other
formulas of the twisted structures to indicate the parts of
the molecule that lie in front and those that lie behind by
means of thicker and thinner lines in order to enhance the
perspective impression. It would certainly be useful, once
the summit is reached on p. 120, to recapitulate briefly
the straightforward path from the simple starting material
to [2]-catenane, e . g . for readers who wish to prepare a
lecture on the basis of this book. In view of the many pages
carrying little or no print (about IS), it should have been
possible to reproduce some mass spectra in connection
with the proof of the structure on p- 122.
This book should find a place in every chemical library;
every chemist is recommended to read it, including those
who are not concerned with organic compounds.
Hans Musso
[NB 33 IE]
Registered names, trademarks, etc. used m thls journal, even without specific indicotion thereof, are not to be considered unprotecred by low
8 Verlag Chemie GmbH, Weinheim 1972. - Printed in Germany by Zechnersche Buchdruckerei, Speyer/Rhem.
All rights reserved (including those of translation into foreign languages). No part of this issue may be reproduced in any form - by photoprint, microfilm, or any other
means - nor transmitted or translated into a machine language without the permission in writing of the publishers.
Editorial offke: Boschstrasse 12,6940 WeinheimiBergstr., Germany, Telephone 4036/4037, Telex 4655 16 vchwh d
Filitor: H Griinewald. Translation Editors: A. J. Rackstraw and A. Stimson.
Publishers: Verlag Chemje GmbH. (Managing Directors Jiirgen Kreurhage and Hum Schermer) Pappelallee 3,6940 Weinheim/Bergstr.. Germany. and Academrc Press Inc.
(President Wdter J. Johnson), 111 Fifth Avenue, New York 3, N. Y., USA, and fkrkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W. l., England.
Correspondence concerning advertisements should bc addressed to Verlag Chemie GmbH. (Advertising Manager H . Both), 6940 WemheimiBergstr., Pappelallee 3,
P. 0. Box 1291149 Germany, Telephone Weinheim (06201) 4031, Telex 4655 16 vchwh d.
248
Angew. Chem. internal. Edit. 1 Vol. I 1 (1972) No. 3
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