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Book Review Electron Transfer and Radical Processes in Transition-Metal Chemistry. By D. Astruc

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BOOKS
pounds. Here again one is prompted to
ask why chapters of this sort, dealing with
physical or other methods of analysis in
organophosphorus chemistry, have been
scattered through several volumes rather
than collected together in a single volume.
The following chapters are devoted to the
biological activity of phosphonic and
phosphinic acids (A. Kalir and H. H.
Kalir) and the chemistry of organophosphorus compounds with military applications (R. M. Black and J. M. Harrison);
both these are topics without which a
work on this subject area would not be
complete.
The comments made when reviewing
the previous three volumes also apply to
Volume 4: here too we have a group of
topics of central importance in organophosphorus chemistry, covered by authors who are experts in these areas.
Throughout the book there are detailed
lists of references giving the reader access
to the original literature and to review articles and monographs. In some chapters
the references are more up-to-date than in
the previous volumes, often extending to
very recently published work, and by including “Notes added in proof’ it has
been possible to update the literature coverage still further. However, a fully comprehensive citation of all published work
was apparently not intended.
Regrettably it must again be mentioned, as in previous reviews, that insufficient care has been devoted to the important matter of correctly citing authors’
names in the literature references The frequent occurrence of garbled names is annoying. This is especially so when a particular author‘s name turns up at several
places in two. or even three, different versions, which may then appear at different
positions in the index ofauthors. The lack
of care is especially obvious in the treatment of names from outside the Englishspeaking world - for example, an umlaut
is almost invariably ignored. With regard
to journal names, in a publication of this
nature one expects the editors to know,
for example. that no journal with the title
Chernische Berichtr existed before 1945.
Also a few of the citations turned out to be
incorrect when they were checked.
As has already been noted for the preceding three volumes, it must be said
Angew. (‘hem. 1n1. Ed. Engl. 1997, 36. No.
3
again that the work as a whole shows no
clearly recognizable plan o r systematic arrangement of subject matter. It is not easy
to locate information on a specific topic,
particularly for the nonspecialist who may
not have a very precise idea of what he o r
she is looking for. It would have been
helpful to provide a n overall plan for the
work, for example by including in Volume
4 a guide to the four voIumes, thus making
it more user-friendly, especially as the text
is closely set with a small typeface.
Despite the above reservations, these
four volumes unquestionably provide the
most up-to-date and comprehensive treatment of organophosphorus chemistry
that is currently available, and they are a
valuable addition to the Chemistry of
Functional Groups series edited by Patai.
Every chemist who is interested in any aspect of organophosphorus chemistry
needs to have access to them.
Reinhard Schrnutzler
Institut fur Anorganische und
Analytische Chemie
der Technischen Universitat
Braunschweig (Germany)
Electron Transfer and Radical Processes in Transition-Metal Chemistry.
By D. Astruc. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, New York, 1995. 630 pp.,
hardcover
DM 225.00/$ 140.00.ISBN 1-56081-642-2
The intention of Didier Astruc in his
book Electron Transfer and Radical Processes in Transition-Metal Chemistry is to
provide an introduction and overview of
electron-transfer reactions and odd-electron transition-metal chemistry for the
reader who is relatively unfamiliar with
the field. He succeeds in providing an
easy-to-read introduction to the majority
of important topics in this vast area, but
with regard to some topics he falls short of
providing a representative sample of the
important experiments and ideas in these
areas. This is no great surprise considering
the enormous breadth of the field he has
chosen to review.
Chapter 1 provides a nice overview of
some of the basic concepts and theories of
$> VCH Verlagsgesellsrhafi mbH, 0-69451 Weinheim. 1997
electron transfer. This chapter serves as a
tutorial for the scientist who is vaguely
familiar with the field but wants to learn
more about it without being intimidated
by its jargon. Chapter 2, which deals with
electrochemical techniques for studying
the electron transfer properties and reactivities of transition metal complexes, is
also nicely done in that it focuses on the
methods most frequently used in this area
and refers the reader to some of the more
sophisticated but less frequently used
methods. In this chapter the author has
collected relevant examples from existing
texts on electrochemistry and presented
them in a more reader-friendly manner. In
addition, he addresses strengths and limitations of each technique and provides
extensive references. Chapter 3, which
covers the structures of transition-metal
radicals and paramagnetic complexes, is
also quite well done. I did not care for
Chapter 4, which pertains to the emerging
and important area of molecular electronics. In this chapter the referencing is inadequate, and although the author correctly
identifies “molecular assembly” as one of
the greatest challenges in molecular electronics, he fails to discuss monolayer selfassembly methodology, one of the most
important methods for organizing molecules onto device components. The choice
of devices and systems for discussion in
this area also seems somewhat random.
Chapters 5-7, which deal with mechanistic issues involving radical transition
metal complexes and the use of transition
metal redox equivalents in applications to
synthesis and catalysis, are well done with
the exception of the section on catalysis of
biochemical redox reactions. This section,
like the chapter on molecular electronics,
is too cursory for the reader to obtain an
understanding of the primary issues in
these important areas.
Overall, this is a well written book with
parts that could be useful in an introductory graduate course that focuses on electron transfer in transition-metal-based
systems, providing that the course is supplemented extensively with examples from
the literature.
Chad A . Mirkin
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL (USA)
0570-0833/97i3603-02Y9$ l3.00 + 25:O
299
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