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Book Review The Names and Structures of Organic Compounds. By O. Th. Benfey

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T h e 16 lectures forming the subject of this volume make
fascinating reading which n o one interested in history of
modern natural science should forego.
H . Grunewald [NB 770 IE]
Carbonium Ions. An Introduction. By D . Bethell and V. Gold.
Academic Press, London-New York 1967. 1st Edit., xii,
387 pp., numerous figures and tables, bound, $ 16.00 or
95 shillings.
Of the many reactive intermediates in organic chemistry,
carbonium ions have attracted the closest attention during
the last decade. The interest centers on the bridged carbonium
ions and on stable solutions in ‘superacids’, in which
even the methyl cation can be observed directly. Until recently there was no comprehensive treatment of the entire
subject, and the present book attempts to fill this gap. Since
an exhaustive treatment of the field would fill several volumes
- as is evident from the 50 or so reviews and books cited it was obviously necessary to reach some kind of a compromise. Its subtitle means that the book is addressed to students
and chemical research workers active in other fields; it also
means that it is a collection which can be used as a basis for
introductory reading. We could thus expect at least a brief
mention of all the fundamentals, while a too specialized discussion would be avoided. Finally, it should if possible offer
a representative selection from the mass of available investigations. These aims have been only partially fulfilled.
After an introduction, the following subjects are considered:
experimental methods in the investigation of carbonium ions
(30 pp.). methods of preparation (13 pp.) and quantitative
aspects of the formation of carbonium ions (51 pp.), factors
which influence the stability (42 pp.), reactions of carbonium
ions (60 pp.) and bridged carbonium ions (60 pp.); a few
related species (acylium ions, singlet carbene, radical cations,
and hetero-analogs) are mentioned briefly in the final chapter
(21 pp.). The literature up to 1966 is taken into account (of
the 1400 original citations, about 100 come from 1966 and 20
from 1967). The discussion is highly critical, which increases
its value for the instructor or the practical chemical worker
but it often appears not very didactic. An introduction
should not, for example, devote nearly one quarter to ‘nonclassical’ carbonium ions, the special position of which is
debatable - the chapter is otherwise an excellent survey of all
aspects of this special field - while the problem of the vinyl
and aryl cations and the stereoelectronically directed course
of the cyclopropyl + ally1 cation rearrangement (De Puy,
Schollkopf, Schleyer, Woodward, Hoffman) on which intensive work has been carried out in the last few years has not
even been mentioned.
The text is readable, though a little dry; the setting, printing,
and production leave nothing to be desired, and only small
misprints, of no significance to the understanding of the text,
were found. The author index and the literature survey are
excellently suited for a deeper penetration of the special
subjects. The subject index is adequate. This first survey of
the whole field is certain to be welcomed by many organic and
physical chemists.
D . Seebach [NB 756 IE]
Organometallic Compounds. By G. E. Coates, M . L. H . Green,
and K. Wade. Vol. 11: The Transition Elements. By M . L.
Green. Methuen and Co., Ltd.. London 1968. 3rd. Edit.,
xiii, 376 pp., 86 figs., 31 tables, E 5.0.0.
The number of publications dealing with organometallic
compounds, especially those of the transition metals, has
increased considerably in the last ten years. Although even
in the second edition the organometallic compounds of the
transition elements were dealt with in about 100 pages and
about 200 literature references, this work now appears as a
separate volume with over 1300 references. The complex
compounds are n o longer arranged according to the group
[l] Cf. Angew. Chem. 76, 239 (1964).
Angew. Chem. intentat. Edit. J Vol. 8 (1969) / No. 2
number of the transition element in the periodic table, but
instead they are classified according to the type of the ligand.
In this way, the alkyl group for example is indicated as a oneelectron ligand, ethylene as a typical two-electron ligand, the
x-ally1 group as a three-electron ligand, and the x-cycloheptatrienyl group as a seven-electron ligand. Following this subdivision, the first seven chapters deal very clearly with a great
number of characteristic complex compounds.
Another chapter is concerned with the reactions of the transition metal compounds with acetylene. A new addition js
the last chapter, which deals with the catalytic reactions of
transition metal compounds. In this, as the author remarks,
only a few typical examples are outlined. Perhaps it is this
chapter that might have been expanded, because of the increasing importance of this field in organometalljc chemistry.
The book is recommended highly to advanced students of
chemistry as a n introduction to the organometallic chemistry
of the transition metals and also to all others interested in
this subject. The author is to be congratulated.
K . Jonas [NB 748 IE]
The Names and Structures of Organic Compounds. By 0. Th.
Benfey. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.. New York-LondonSydney, 1966. 1st Edit. xiv, 212 pp., board 23s.
Constructing the names of organic compounds according to
the rules of systematic nomenclature is not to everyone’s
taste, nor has everyone the patience to plough through the
IUPAC rules. 0. T. Benfey has therefore written a pocket
book for his students, in which the main rules and principles
of nomenclature are very skilfully introduced in question
and answer form. As the text progresses, the student is increasingly obliged to think for himself in order to find the
right answer (which is always given). After 100 pages, the
text leaves the subject of nomenclature, and a total of 66
pages are devoted to the calculation of formal charges, the
writing of electronic formulas and resonance structures, and
the calculation of the number of possible isomers for monosubstituted alkanes. The remainder of the book consists of
revision questions (and answers) o n the various chapters and
a list of names of important compounds that are not mentioned in the main part.
First or second-semester chemistry students will find that
this book presents, in an easily remembered manner, information that will be of use to them at a later stage. In any case,
the book will certainly provide the teacher with many suggestions for dealing with the nomenclature of organic comH . Grunewald [NB 771 IE]
Plutonium Handbook - A Guide to the Technology. Edited by
0.J. Wick with the cooperation of several associates.
Preface by G. T. Seaborg. Gordon and Breach Science
Publishers, New York-London-Paris 1967. 2 vols, x, 966
pp.. numerous illustrations, diagrams, micrographs, and
tables, Vol. 1. Cloth-bound. $, 26.00, Vol. 2 Cloth-bound
$22.50. Professional Edition: Vol. 1. $15.50, Vol. 2 $13.25.
Although element 94, plutonium, has only been known for
28 years, today, along with uranium, it is the most important
raw material for nuclear technology and one of the most
significant primary sources of energy. Since plutonium
literature has grown to an extent where i t is now difficult to
keep it under review, a comprehensive, critical survey has
become necessary; the handbook described in this review
fulfils this need very well. 0. J . Wick has succeeded in getting
some of the best-known plutonium technologists as authors
of individual chapters.
The book is divided into seven sections: I. Physics, 11. Metallurgy.111. Chemistry, IV.Chemica1 ReprocessingV.Production
and Use, VI. Analysis and Inspection Procedures, and VII.
Safety Precautions. It ends with a detailed author and
subject index.
In section I. (B. R . Leonhard jr.), important nuclear data
(half-lives, disintegration energies, resonance parameter,
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