Most helpful positive review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An ease to teach with and a pleasure to study with
on February 28, 2012
I personally dislike reviewing books but there are some exceptional texts out there that do motivate me to overcome my laziness and dislike for prose. This is definitely one such.
Ironically, the book is a fairly text heavy- its a highly lucid and explanatory take on General Chemistry. There are some substantial strong points to it, in that it does not presuppose a substantial degree of previous knowledge for one to read a chapter on its own.
Many General Chemistry textbooks try to cover a topic in sections, spreading it across chapters. That is fine, if you are covering all those sections in your course. In contrast, Silberberg explains the basic fundamentals of relevant topics in each individual chapter- focussing on developing foundational and practical knowledge of the subject in the student's mind. I would strongly recommend this to any student who does not have a strong background in sciences and isnt particularly confident in chemistry. It explains concepts very clearly.
I think important chapters in this book revolve around Thermochemistry, Kinetics and Equilibrium as well as Entropy and Gibbs Free Energy. These concepts often are very unclear in General Chemistry texts, either too simplified or too mechanistic and physics oriented. It is in these sections that Silberberg really does a marvellous job. I've had kids who had failed General chemistry come to me for tuition and I merely recommended this book for self study- their confidence and comprehension of the physical aspects were better strengthened through this book than whatever else they were using at college.
I still have my 03 edition, along with this since this was the only book (after an exhaustive search of textbooks) that could explain key concepts of physical chemistry better than a physical chem textbook (Atkins for example).
I also like the fact that concepts such as MO-theory, and bonding has been explained in as much detail so that those chapters are of great use in more advanced chemistry courses. I feel that unlike most other textbooks I have owned in the past, this has been and still is an invaluable reference.
If you cannot read detailed explanations about theory and problem solving then this book is not for you. If you clearly are a person who benefits from a lot of examples and step-by-step explanation of phenomena then I would say to see this text. There must be an older version of this book in most college libraries, it would be worthwhile just reading the thermodynamics chapter of this and comparing it with your recommended textbook- that is often one of the hardest topics in General chemistry and if you can understand it this then great.