Organic Chemistry Portal

Chemistry Books


Categories: Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Jonathan Clayden, Nick Geeves, Stuart Warren

Paperback, 1234 Pages
2nd Edition, 2012
ISBN: 978-0199270293
Oxford University Press


A first and second year undergraduate organic chemistry textbook, specifically geared to British and European courses and courses offered in better schools in North America. The emphasis is on clarity and understanding, with very careful explanations of difficult concepts, many examples related to everyday life, and a fresh and student-friendly writing style.

Editorial Review

If there is a text book for organic chemistry, which I can recommend without restriction, then it is "Organic Chemistry" from the authors Clayden/Greeves/Warren/Wolters. There are several reasons for this:

The book accompanies the beginner in organic chemistry from the structure of the molecules, over NMR up to the topics for advanced, like heterocycles and asymmetrical synthesis. A typical arrangement of functional groups as seen in older text books does not occur. Thus, rather mechanisms and concepts of organic chemistry with rising difficulties are explained. Therefore it can be seen , that a certain mechanism (e.g. the addition to a carbonyl group) can be applied to different functional groups.

A large deficiency of comparable books are the given schemes, which mostly contain "R groups". In this regard, "Clayden" is very practice-related. Thus, in the chapter "acidity, basicity and pKa", the base instability of the Fmoc protective group is explained . Examples like the synthesis of the antibiotic ofloxacin are skillfully inserted later.

As very successful I call the marginal notes. Thus a mechanism is explained again in another kind, or you receive hints, referring to earlier or later chapters, where you can find more information about the topic. Marginal notes contain remarks like "The Favorskii mechanism want help you understand the Ramberg-Baecklund reaction... ". The book doesn´t lead you in temptation of stubborn memorization, but does promote interlaced thinking.

Interesting additions are, e.g. chapters about main group chemistry (S, B, Si...), "Organometallic Chemistry" and "The Chemistry of Life". Therefore the book is not only recommendable for lectures in organic chemistry, but also as a companion in biochemistry lectures.

Who "Clayden" possesses, has in lectures where alcohols, amines, carbonic acids and amides are strictly treated separately from each other, probably more or less to keep leafing back and forth and back again. However, this book has, compared with usual text books, to offer some pluses.

Beyond that, I recommend lecturers the acquisition of an "inspection copy". You should use this offer,
to promote organic knowledge in another way and to encourage interlaced thinking.


1 What is organic chemistry?
Organic Chemistry and this book
2 Organic structures
3 Determining organic structures
4 Structure of molecules
5 Organic reactions
6 Nucleophilic addition to the carbonyl group
7 Delocalization and conjugation
8 Acidity, basicity, and pKa
9 Using organometallic reagents to make C-C bonds
10 Conjugate addition
11 Proton nuclear magnetic resonance
12 Nucleophilic substitution at the carbonyl (C=O) group
13 Equilibria, rates, and mechanisms: summary of mechanistic principles
14 Nucleophilic substitution at C=O with loss of carbonyl oxygen
15 Review of spectroscopic methods
16 Stereochemistry
17 Nucleophilic substitution at saturated carbon
18 Conformational analysis
19 Elimination reactions
20 Electrophilic addition to alkenes
21 Formation and reactions of enols and enolates
22 Electrophilic aromatic substitution
23 Electrophilic alkenes
24 Chemoselectivity: selective reactions and protection
25 Synthesis in action
26 Alkylation of enolates
27 Reactions of enolates with aldehydes and ketones: the aldol reaction
28 Acylation at carbon
29 Conjugate addition of enolates
30 Retrosynthetic analysis
31 Controlling the geometry of double bonds
32 Determination of stereochemistry by spectroscopic
33 Stereoselective reactions of cyclic compounds
34 Diastereoselectivity
35 Pericyclic reactions 1: cycloadditions
36 Pericyclic reactions 2: sigmatropic and electrocyclic reactions
37 Rearrangements
38 Fragmentation
39 Radical reactions
40 Synthesis and reactions of carbenes
41 Determining reaction mechanisms
42 Saturated heterocycles and stereoelectronics
43 Aromatic heterocycles 1: structures and reactions
44 Aromatic heterocycles 2: synthesis
45 Asymmetric synthesis
46 Organo-main-group chemistry I: sulfur
47 Organo-main-group chemistry II: boron, silicon, and tin
48 Organometallic chemistry
49 The chemistry of life
50 Mechanisms in biological chemistry
51 Natural products
52 Polymerization
53 Organic chemistry today