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Book Review Metallo-organic Chemistry. By A. J. Pearson

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Surveys of Organometallic Chemistry
Until a few years ago it was not possible to find a comprehensive textbook on organometallic chemistry. This
may at first seem surprising, but it is in fact quite understandable in view of the hectic pace of growth and expansions into new topics which has occurred in this field of
chemistry during the past four decades. Those who had
made significant contributions to the development of organometallic chemistry, and where thus the main potential
authors, held back because each new publication on the
current state of knowledge was likely to become outdated
by the time the printing was finished and the book bound.
Over the years, however, the principles have become progressively better defined; compound classes, reactivity patterns, structural characteristics and possible applications
have emerged more clearly and are better understood.
Thus, several books have just become available whose titles promise a more or less comprehensive treatment of organometallic chemistry:
Fundamental Transition Metal Organometallic Chemistry.
By C. M . Lukehart. Brooks/Cole Publishing Company,
Monterey, C A 1985. xiv, 447 pp., bound, $ 28.00.--ISBN
0-534-03801 -8.
Metallo-organic Chemistry. By A. J. Pearson. John Wiley,
Chichester 1985. xi, 398 pp., paperback, E 9.95.-ISBN
0-47 1-90446-5.
Basic Organometallic Chemistry. By I . Haiduc and J. J .
Zuckerman. Walter d e Gruyter, Berlin 1985. xxviii, 376
pp., bound, D M 169.00.-ISBN 3-1 1-007184-3.
I found the book by Haiduc and Zuckerman the most
useful, as it is generally well written from a teaching standpoint, and gives a not unduly detailed survey of the organometallic chemistry of the main and transition group elements. Although the treatment of laboratory techniques is
unfortunately not completely u p to date, the book makes a
good impression in all other respects. It presents in a clear
way the most important classes of compounds arranged
under groups for the main-group elements, and for the
transition metals according to the electron balance in the
complexing ligands. For advanced chemistry students the
section on “Organometallic compounds of non-transition
elements” (pp. 45-222) will be of great benefit, as the information is presented free from inessentials and with the
emphasis o n basic principles throughout. However, I feel
that an accompanying discussion article is needed as much
for this topic as for the comprehensive chapters on “Organometallic compounds of transition metals” (pp. 223-376),
as the importance of the various classes of compounds for
present-day chemistry in universities and industry is seldom treated as thoroughly as it ought to be. This book is
especially valuable for teaching purposes since, by means
of clear structural diagrams, it enables one to easily grasp
the essential facts. The price of the book is reasonable in
view of its content.
On comparing the above book with that by Lukehart, it
is evident at the first glance that this is a distinctly more
specialized work. As the title indicates, only the transition
metals are covered, though with a corresponding increase
Angew Chem. I n t . Ed. Engl. 25 11986) No. 11
in depth and thoroughness since the two books contain
similar numbers of pages. In the division of the book into
topics Lukehart has reached a good compromise between
important classes of compounds, principles of reactivity,
and-especially valuable for the industrial chemist-the
technical applications of modern organometallic chemistry. Classifications according to method of preparation,
spectroscopy and structure are, of course, clearly and fully
presented, and in many places further developed by comparison tables which contain a lot of information. The author’s tendency towards detail sometimes interferes appreciably with the flow of the text, especially when quite unnecessary data are added below the chemical equations
(e.g. on pp. 95, 97, 143, 145 ...). On the other hand Lukehart gives with each chapter a selection of literature references for studying the topics more thoroughly. The book is
a useful monograph for the research chemist rather than a
textbook, as the advanced chemistry student would find
the large number of individual compounds and their properties too much to cope with. I would refer them instead to
“Collman-Hegedus”, which is much easier and comprehensible for students, although at present it is unfortunately out of print.“] The book by Lukehart will be useful
to doctoral and post-doctoral students and academic staff
engaged in the organometallic field, especially when a
quick survey of a specialized topic is wanted. The book is
not lying before me on the desk, but I d o have it in the
bookshelf behind me.
I have not yet made so much of a start with the 400-page
work by A. J. Pearson. Although the book contains much
basic material on mechanisms and compound classes, I
find it lacks the overall guiding themes which make a book
valuable and worth reading. An incidental comment: the
title of the book promises more than is contained in the
text, as the main-group metals are not treated. Numerous
references to original literature are given, but these have
been covered more fully and effectively in other publications. I cannot recommend the purchase of this book to
any of the groups of readers mentioned earlier.
Wo(fgang A. Herrmann [ N B 761 IE]
Anorganisch-chemisches Institut
der Technischen Universitat Munchen, Garching (FRG)
Boussingault. Chemist and Agriculturist. By F. W. J.
McCosh. D. Reidel Publishing Co., Dordrecht 1984. xv,
280 pp., bound, Hfl. 140.00.-ISBN 90-277- 1682-X
The French chemist and agronomist Jean Baptiste Boussingault (1802-1887) played a decisive role in determining
the character of agricultural chemistry in the 19th century.
A comprehensive biography in book form on his life and
his scientific work has been lacking until now. The book
under review fills this gap.
F. W. J . McCosh has compiled a very detailed account
of the individual periods of Boussingault’s life, drawing
upon all available source material. He thereby throws light
on the manifold interrelations with political, social, and
scientific communities.
J. P. Collman, L. G. Hegedus: Principles and Applications of Organo-transitiun Metal Chemistrv. University Science Books (Oxford University
Press, Oxford 1982).
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