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Book Review Stereoselective Synthesis. By Mih3ly Ngrdi

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Inorganic High Pressure Chemistry. Kinetics and Mechanisms. Edited by R. van Eldik. Elsevier, Amsterdam
1986. x, 448 pp., bound, HFI 280.00.--ISBN 0-44442682-2
High pressure kinetics has become more and more important in the last years. Especially in coordination chemistry it brought new insights into the reaction mechanisms.
The editor Rudi van Eldik is one of the leading experts in
high pressure kinetics of coordination compounds. The
reader will notice his experience and competence. H e himself has written a large part of the book, thus making it
very coherent. There are almost no repetitions.
The introductory chapter by van Eldik describes the high
pressure techniques and methods of analysis comprehensively. The experimental results are arranged according t o
reaction types: Solvent Exchange Reactions (Y. Ducommun
and A . E. Merbach); Substitution, Isomerization and Related Reactions of Octahedral Complexes ( R . van Eldik)
and of Four-Coordinate Complexes ( M . Kotowski and R .
oan Eldik); Electron Transfer Reactions (T. W . Swaddle);
Photochemical and Photophysical Processes (I? C. Ford);
as well as Bioinorganic Systems ( K . Heremans). The final
chapter by van Eldik demonstrates how much the subject is
in a state of flux. Simple transition state theory is used to
discuss the high pressure data almost all over the book. It
is only in the last chapter that van Eldik shows what consequences the simplifications have and which extensions
were suggested. These difficulties become evident especially in high pressure photochemistry. Here, the application of transition state theory is not justified a priori. In the
introduction to his chapter Ford explicitly stressed this
point: “the processes subsequent to photoexcitation have
t o be treated somewhat differently”. However, he also uses
the simple transition state theory t o discuss the experimental results. Obviously there is nothing better.
I am sure this monograph will remain the standard work
on high pressure kinetics for years. Everyone working in
this field will use it and quote from it. The nonspecialist
might be discouraged by size and price. But there is hope,
its contents will get into text books on reaction kinetics
and thus will becomk widely known. For, the pressure dependence of rate constants will soon become as important
as the Arrhenius diagram is to-day.
Fritz Wasgestian [NB 829 IE]
Institut fur Anorganische Chemie
der Universitat Koln (FRG)
Stereoselective Synthesis. By Mihaly Nogradi. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim 1987. xiv, 356 pp., bound,
D M 168.00.-ISBN 3-527-26467-1
The area of stereoselective synthesis has been intensively
studied for a good decade, and has thus reached some degree of maturity. Therefore both outsiders and those working in the field have a n equal need for a critical review
which sets out the principles and highlights the reliable
methods. We already have, from the years 1983-1985, the
five volume work “Asymmetric Synthesis”, edited by J. D.
Morrison (see Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 25 (1986) 848),
which describes the essence of the more important methods. What can the present book offer us?
The introduction, which discusses the basic concepts of
stereochemistry, shows the author to be a scientist who
proceeds in a systematic way. This is followed by chapters
on stereoselective catalytic hydrogenations, stereoselective
non-catalytic reductions, stereoselective oxidations and
Angew. Chem. In!. Ed. Engl. 26 (1987) No. I0
stereoselective C-C bond-forming reactions. Finally there
are two shorter chapters on stereoselective pericyclic reactions and stereoselective carbon-heteroatom bond formation. However, the critical evaluation which we had hoped
for constitutes only a small insignificant part of the book,
which being simply a collection of data is scarcely more
exciting to read than a telephone directory. The author
has, however, assembled, under types of reactions, all the
important factual information on stereoselective syntheses
from recent years, and a large amount of additional data.
Is this book then to be regarded as the “Beilstein” of stereoselective synthesis? The scandalously long time interval
between the end of literature coverage in 1984 and the
book’s publication in 1987 is reminiscent of that. But that
is the only resemblance- whereas Beilstein is recognized
for the proverbial reliability of the data, Nogradi’s book
contains many incorrect structural formulas. These, regrettably, include quite a number of errors which alter the
intended meaning. Worse still, some reactions which superficially look correct are in fact given wrongly, e.g. because the configuration of a stereogenic center in a product is shown wrongly, or the description of the reaction as
a whole does not correspond to that in the papers cited. Of
course, the reader only notices such errors in those topics
with which he is familiar. It is unfair, but understandable,
to draw conclusions from this about the treatment of other
topics. In short, viewed in this light the book is a source of
irritation.
Despite these criticisms I must give the author credit
where it is due. Behind this collection of data there lies a n
immense amount of work, and the book is certainly of
value insofar as it contains a wealth of well organized data
on stereoselective syntheses. This includes much factual
information and examples which the reader interested in
this field could not otherwise readily find. Nevertheless, all
users of the book are strongly advised to check the data by
consulting the original papers!
It may occur to the reader of this review that minor defects of presentation and inaccuracies, which one would
usually criticize, have not been mentioned here. Such
faults pale into insignificance compared with the lack of
care in presenting structural information. It is perhaps typical of the book that the page devoted to advertising by
VCH Verlagsgesellschaft shows a n sp2 hybridized carbon
atom with tetrahedral bond angles!
Reinhard W . Hoffmann [NB 838 IE]
Fachbereich Chemie
der Universitat Marburg (FRG)
Transient Techniques in NMR of Solids. An Introduction to
Theory and Practice. By B. C. Gerstein and C. R. Dybowski. Academic Press, New York 1985, xi, 295 pp.,
bound, $59.00.--ISBN 0-12-281 180-1
As the authors state this book is written for students
working in the field of high resolution N M R spectroscopy
of solids, who wish to gain a thorough understanding of
this specialized topic. They have sought to convey to the
reader their own, quite individual view of this subject, the
fascination which it generates, and their own pleasure in
the scientific concepts involved. To this end they use a very
lively style of language rich in individual idioms and expressions. They treat at length with very detailed calculations the fundamental topics, including some rather trivial
ones. Time and again the authors feel obliged to lead the
reader into digressions, e.g., into complex numbers, alter1053
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