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Categories: Organic Chemistry >> Synthesis

Advanced Organic Chemistry

Francis A. Carey, Richard A. Sundberg

Part A:
Paperback, 1199 Pages
5th Edition, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0-387-44897-8

Francis A. Carey, Richard A. Sundberg

Part B:
Paperback, 1322 Pages
5th Edition, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0-387-68350-8


Advanced Organic Chemistry has maintained its place as the premier textbook in the field, since its first appearance in 1977. It offers broad coverage of the structure, reactivity and synthesis of organic compounds. As in the earlier editions, the text contains extensive references to both the primary and review literature and provides examples of data and reactions that illustrate and document the generalizations. While the text assumes completion of an introductory course in organic chemistry, it reviews the fundamental concepts for each topic.

This two-part, fifth edition has been substantially revised and reorganized for greater clarity. The control of reactivity to achieve specific syntheses is one of the overarching goals of organic chemistry. Part B describes the most general and useful synthetic reactions, organized on the basis of reaction type. It can stand-alone; together, with Part A: Structure and Mechanisms, the two volumes provide a comprehensive foundation for the study in organic chemistry.

Editorial Review

Advanced Organic Chemistry” by Francis A. Carey and Richard J. Sundberg – the well-known textbook for graduate students – has now appeared in a 5th edition. The book is divided into two parts: “Part A” with the fundamentals of the structure of organic compounds and mechanisms, and “Part B” with specific reactions. Thus, this review is likewise divided into two sections.

Part A: Structure and Mechanisms

Once again, Part A contains important information on the fundamentals of organic chemistry, and in contrast to the usual beginner textbooks, it always elaborates beyond the introductions with additional information that will likely confuse beginners. For example, the chapter on orbitals and molecular orbitals is relatively long, and also describes the basics of computer-generated representations with the help of DFT (Density Functional Theory).

In later chapters as well, for topics such as “Nucleophilic Substitution” that are also found in other textbooks, Carey & Sundberg present a detailed treatment that gleams with a multitude of examples.

Part A is recommended reading for all students who have already worked their way through an organic chemistry book. Carey & Sundberg can help to refresh and embellish their existing knowledge, which makes the book especially worthwhile when preparing to complete a degree.

Part B: Reactions and Synthesis

Part B describes the important reactions of organic chemistry. The chapters are organized according to reaction type, e.g. “Reactions of Carbon Nucleophiles with Carbonyl Compounds” or “Reduction of Carbon-Carbon Multiple Bonds”. Each chapter contains mechanistic details and basic principles, but also a plethora of additional examples with the corresponding literature citations. In principle, Part B could be considered a collection of reviews. The breadth of scope in the individual chapters is similar to that in articles that might be found in Chem. Rev., for example. The literature has been covered far beyond the year 2000. Although not all of the important publications have been covered, the ones selected will enable the student to identify the potential and applicability of a given transformation.

Parts A and B are quite comprehensive, and being so up to date makes them extremely useful throughout the reader’s academic career. However, Carey & Sundberg assumes a basic understanding of organic chemistry, without which some students might not be able to cope with the sheer volume of information, or will find it difficult to access the information that is the most relevant to their specific academic study.

Carey & Sundberg will be interesting to all students who seek a detailed understanding of organic chemistry, and who wish to refresh and embellish their existing knowledge. On the strength of the scope and quality of the explanations, this pair of texts is recommended for use as the resource of first resort for specific research questions in one’s later career.