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Categories: Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Paula Y. Bruice

Hardcover, 1440 Pages
6th Edition, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-321-66313-9
Prentice Hall


This innovative text is organized in a way that discourages rote memorization, by emphasizing what functional groups do rather than how they are made, highlighting mechanistic similarities and tying synthesis and reactivity together. Bruice's writing has been praised for anticipating students' questions, appealing to their visual and problem solving needs. The text balances coverage of traditional topics with bioorganic chemistry, recognizing the importance of bioorganic topics to today's students.

Editorial Review

Paula Bruice’s textbook is noteworthy among the organic chemistry textbooks described here in that its language is easily understandable, and its numerous illustrations and well-crafted design offer students an easier introduction to organic chemistry. The author herself remarks that the subject should by no means be viewed as a foreign language in which one must learn to use a vocabulary of thousands of reactions. Rather, what should be conveyed are fundamentals and relationships that can be applied in principle even to complicated reactions – a task in which the author succeeds admirably.

The reason is the somewhat loose arrangement of the chapters, sometimes by substrate, other times according to reaction type or specific topics such as “bioorganic compounds”. The book is thus significantly less structured than comparable textbooks, but at the same time avoids mentioning complicated reactions at the beginning, which would inevitably be the case with a stricter organization according to substance classes. On the other hand, the reactions omitted in the early portion of the book appear later in a few chapters that seem somewhat busy as a result.

The book covers all major topics for a basic course, from orbitals, nomenclature, spectroscopy, and reactions to natural products and an introduction to medicinal chemistry. However, despite its large scope, it is only suitable for basic study or when repeating the fundamentals. The cogent descriptions of reaction types and exceptionally good illustrations serve their purpose well and make this a comprehensive text. However, this reviewer is convinced that this treatment is easier to work through than textbooks in which hundreds of reactions are presented with only brief explanations.

This book has a good focus on natural products and drug chemistry, so that it offers the important principles needed in more advanced study of biochemistry or medicinal chemistry. For relevance to today's life sciences industry, it is generally desirable for students to be exposed to interdisciplinary knowledge in their foundation courses. In these chapters, the level of detail corresponds rather more to the needs of beginning students.

“Organic Chemistry” by Paula Bruice is an outstanding textbook for beginning students, which explains the important fundamentals of biochemistry and medicinal chemistry. This book can lay the foundation for a successful course of studies, and its purchase is highly recommended.


An introduction to the study of organic chemistry
1. Electronic structure and bonding acids and bases
2. An introduction to organic compounds nomenclature, physical properties, and representation of structure

Electrophilic addition reactions, stereochemistry, and electron delocalization
3. Alkenes: structure, nomenclature and an introduction to reactivity thermodynamics and kinetics
4. The reactions of alkenes
5. Stereochemistry: the arrangement of atoms in space; the stereochemistry of addition reactions
6. The reactions of alkynes an introduction to multistep synthesis
7. Delocalized electrons and their effect on stability, reactivity, and pka more about molecular orbital theory

Substitution and elimination reactions
8. Substitution reactions of of alkyl halides
9. Elimination reactions of alkyl halides competition between substitution and elimination
10. Reactions of alcohols, amines, ethers, expoxides, and sulfur-containing compounds organometallic compounds
11. Radicals reactions of alkanes

Identification of organic compounds
12. Mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, and ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy
13. NMR spectroscopy

Aromatic compounds
14. Aromaticity reactions of benzene
15. Reactions of substituted benzenes

Carbonyl compounds
16. Carbonyl compounds I: nucleophilic acyl substitution
17. Carbonyl compounds II
18. Carbonyl compounds III: reactions at the α-carbon

Oxidation-reduction reactions and amines
19. More about oxidation-reduction reactions
20. More about amines. heterocyclic compounds

Bioorganic compounds
21. Carbohydrates
22. Amino acids, peptides, and proteins
23. Catalysis
24. The organic mechanisms of the coenzymes
25. The chemistry of metabolism
26. Lipids
27. Nucleosides, nucleotides, and nucleic acids

Special topics in organic chemistry
28. Synthetic polymers
29. Pericyclic reactions
30. The organic chemistry of drugs: discovery and design