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Book Review Multiply Bonded Main Group Metals and Metalloids. Edited by R. West and F. G. A. Stone

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ter 11 is also concerned with the use of
supercritical carbon dioxide as an environmentally benign solvent; the examples
described here by D. A. Morgenstern and
coauthors (USA) are the enantioselective
catalytic hydrogenation of enamines and
the copolymerization of CO, with epoxides.
The rest of the articles deal with more
speculative topics. The environmental aspects of catalytic reactions discussed in
Chapters 8-10 and of biotcchnological
processes in Chapters 13 15 are undoubtedly very important, as also is the education of chemists in accordance with the
new principles of environmentally benign
chemistry (Chapters 16- 17).
This book should be in every chemistry
library, and will provide many stimulating
ideas for chemists involved in production,
in basic research, and in teaching. Some of
the articles may even come to be regarded
in the future as milestones on the road to
a new science of chemistry and a new
chemical industry that is once more
looked on favorably by society as a whole.
Jiirgen 0 . Metzger
Institut fur Organische Chemie
der Universitiit Oldenburg (Germany)
Multiply Bonded Main Group Metals
and Metalloids. Edited by R. West
and E: G. A . Stone. Academic Press,
San Diego, 1996.408 pp., paperback
$65.00.-ISBN 0-12-744740-7
We are probably all familiar with a situation such as the following. While scanning through Chemical Abstracts you
come across some interesting review articles that have appeared in Volume 39 of
Advances in Organometallic Chemistry.
You go eagerly to the library to find the
articles, only to discover after a long and
fruitless search that the order for this series has, like many others, had to be cancelled so as to achieve the savings targets
that the authorities have demanded.
Is this an unfortunate isolated case?
No, it is already an everyday situation in
the libraries of many German universities.
For this reason the initiative of Academic
Press in starting to introduce a moderately priced paperback edition of this monograph is especially welcome. The book reviewed here is a paperback version of
reviews covering novel types of multiple
bonding for the heavier Main Group elements, a research topic that has contributed appreciably to the renaissance of
molecular chemistry during the last two
decades. The editors have assembled a
team of recognized experts to write the
individual chapters, many of whom have
also made pioneering advances in their respective fields.
The book begins with a very readable
survey by P. J. Brothers and P. P. Power
of multiple bonding involving the heavier
elements of Main Group 3, namely aluminum, gallium, indium, and thallium.
The authors begin with a lucid description
of homo- and heteronuclear single bonding situations for these elements; these are
then compared with isolated or postulated
multiple bonding situations, and plausible
explanations of the bonding in the molecules are given.
The article by A. G. Brook and M. A.
Brook on the chemistry of silenes, a class
of compounds with a silicon-carbon double bond, occupies nearly a quarter of the
book. Every facet of these still quite novel
compounds is discussed thoroughly and
clearly, and an extensive bibliography is
provided. This overview reflects the tendency of some organic chemists to coin
not only reactions, but also compounds,
by attaching the names of researchers
rather than functionalities. Thus, when
the authors refer to the “Brook”,
“Wiberg”, or “Jones-Auner” silenes, one
wonders of whether these labels will stand
the test of time. The authors’ view that the
heyday of silenes chemistry has now
passed is probably justified, but a resurgence cannot be completely ruled out.
The articles on multiply bonded silicon-nitrogen compounds (J. Hemme and
U. Klingebiel) and silicon-phosphorus
and silicon-arsenic compounds (M.
Driess) are much shorter, but are just as
competently written as the previous one.
Molecules containing these structural elements have in most cases only been isolated in pure form within the last few years,
and consequently the range of their
known chemistry is still rather limited
compared with that of other multiply
bonded systems that have been investigated more thoroughly.
Thus it is surprising to find that the article by R. Okazaki and R. West on the
now well documented chemistry of the
stable or nearly stable disilenes, coinpounds with a silicon-silicon double
bond, is only slightly longer than the
above. However, by means of clearly set
out tables and numerous well-planned
formula schemes the authors achieve the
feat of presenting all the relevant information within a small space. The declared
“threat” that no publications earlier than
1987 were to be referred to is, fortunately,
not strictly enforced, and older papers are
also mentioned where appropriate.
K. M. Baines and V. G. Gibbs took on
the difficult task of reporting on homoand heteronuclear double-bonding with
nihH. 0-69451 Weinheim,1997
germanium and tin as bonding partners.
By presenting information in the form of
easily readable tables and clearly drawn
structural formulas and schemes, they
have covered this rather heterogeneous
topic in a convincing and successful way.
The penultimate article, in which A. J.
Ashe and S. Al-Ahmed deal with diheteroferrocenes containing arsenic, antimony, or bismuth, is something of a disappointment, because it misses the
opportunity to report on the latest developments in multiply bonded systems with
these elements, for instance the arsaalkenes and arsaalkynes. Although the article
is just as well written as the others in the
book. it seems out of place here because of
the different choice of subject matter. This
is all the more surprising when one
remembers that Ashe has made important research contributions in the area of
multiple bonding of elements of Main
Group 5, for example through elegant
syntheses of phospha-, arsa-, stiba- and
It is difficult to understand why the excellent article by J. J. Eisch on boron-carbon multiple bonding has been relegated
to the last position. With the exception of
carboranes, which the author prefers to
leave to the inorganic chemists, the review
contains a very good account of all aspects of the topic, including acyclic boranes, cyclic and polycyclic systems, and
the nonclassical methyleneboranes. The
book ends with a very comprehensive keyword index.
The editors have evidently had to arrive
at a compromise between an ideal treatment and one that is achievable in practice. Although most of the chapters include some mention of theoretical aspects,
it would have been desirable to draw these
together in a unified form. Also, in view of
the inclusion of a chapter on boron-carbon multiple bonding, one has to ask why
there is not one on boron-nitrogen multiple bonding.
However, considered as a whole this is
a very useful book. The typesetting is
clear, and the structure diagrams are well
drawn and mostly in a consistent style.
The literature coverage extends to the end
of 1994 in most cases, and occasionally
into early 1995. The fact that a few of the
chapters already need to be extended to
include new knowledge is an indication of
the high level of research activity in this
field. The monograph can be recommended for everyone with an interest in the
molecular chemistry of the Main Group
Manfied Weidenbruch
Fachbereich Chemie
der Universitiit Oldenburg (Germany)
0570-0X33/97/3607-07X4 $17.50+ .50/0
Angew Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1997, 36, No. 7
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metalloids, bonded, book, west, metali, group, stone, edited, main, multiple, review
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