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4.5 out of 5 stars
Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I took freshman chemistry I didn't think much of the textbook. It wasn't until I got into upper level courses that I began to appreciate this textbook. It is great for concepts that might not be explained great in detail during lecture and provides enough challenging and interesting question at the end of the chapters. Inclusively it is great for reference. The only thing that I consider bad about this textbook is that the newer editions seem to be always overpriced.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I've used this textbook last quarter for gen chem I and I rented it. I decided to purchase it this time seeing on how I'm using it again for gen chem II and it's very informative. The author breaks down things multiple times to ensure that you grasp the concept at hand.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
A great textbook. It more than covers what is required for my lectures. The explanations go into sufficient detail to give additional insight into topics (though it can be skimmed over if one wishes), but they are not above the subject knowledge of the reader. Unlike many books, the practice problems are excellently set up. There is a wide array of problem, covering the topics from a variety of angles. In addition, all problems occur in nearly-identical pairs, with one of each answered.

Though understandably for a paperback, it seems like the construction of the book as a whole is just a bit too weak for its thickness.

Overall, highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
it is a good book and I like how there are example problems within the text as you go along. I just wish it wasn't quite so busy on each page. there is a lot to see in the margins and things and it was a little bit distracting, but it is a good book in how it explains most of the concepts and help you apply and practice them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My friend Pardlyida Mensah had never done a book review before because she is not a big fan of book reviews. She told me her whole mindset changed after she used Silberberg’s book in her general chemistry I&II class. After realizing how helpful this textbook was in the course, she wanted to share her opinions and suggestions with her fellow chemistry students, professors, chemists and all the other science majors out there. Here is her review:

This book is a very good general chemistry book. It goes over all the important topics in general chemistry. Since general chemistry is an introductory course, it is essential that the textbook for this course be very detailed and explanatory in each chapter. The author's strategy for how the book is organized is excellent. In each chapter, there is a brief description of all the sections in that particular at the beginning, detailed explanation of each section throughout, and practice problems at the end of each chapter.

Many of the general chemistry texts try to cover a lot in each section. Although this might a good idea in some sections, it can make the textbook very confusing and a complicated to understand . One feature of this textbook that I like is that the fact that every chapter is straight forward. The reading level of this textbook is average, which makes it very easy to comprehend, in contrast with some of the other general chemistry textbooks that I have used in the past. Silberberg’s book is by far one of the best because he explains all the general chemistry topics so well, which helps a student develop foundational and practical knowledge of general chemistry . Silberberg also elaborates more on the concept of chemistry throughout the book, which is a really good feature because understanding the concepts of chemistry seems to a really big issue for a lot of students. Chemistry involves a lot of mathematics, which makes it very challenging, but in Silberberg’s textbook, he provides an example for all the mathematical problems. This includes a step by step solution and detailed explanation for all the problems.

I will recommend this book for anyone who is taking general chemistry and anyone who took general chemistry and is still unclear on some of the major topics like Entropy , Kinetics, Thermodynamics, or stoichiometry. This book is written in such a way that students can read it on their own without any instructional guidance. Unlike other general chemistry textbooks, the concepts in each chapter are very clear. The technicality of this book is moderate; in other words, it is very simple and not too technical to understand. This book is a great textbook for all chemistry students, professors and other science related majors. I highly recommend it for anyone who is taking general chemistry and is having a hard time understanding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is very helpful for the class. It has a lot of practice problems. The book was a great deal too!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was required to purchase online HW for an additional $ 120.00 fee to meet the requirements of a General Chem ll class at a C.U.N.Y. school. That online HW subscription is based on using this textbook in conjunction.
There were many problems both I and other students in the class encountered. It affected our final HW grade which is based entirely on this online HW subscription. I was told this was not the first time there was a problem with the online HW.

Our correct answers not being credited, as a result our final score was less than we deserved.
It was shown that we answered questions three different times, a student is allowed to answer the entire set of HW questions three different times to get the best grade. I answered the complete set only once but incorrectly it calculated that I answered it three times and as a result was limited to only one attempt at answering the questions correctly.

Customer service number that is provided is virtually non existent.
I called at least seven different times over a four week period and had to have my Prof call also.
They say they will look into it and get back via email.
I received one email that had nothing at all to do with this problem.
My Prof was frustrated that they did not return his calls or provide information on the phone as to the updated status of the repair.

After repeated calls they say they will escalate the inquiry and have a specialist examine the problem. But what actually happened was that the problem was not corrected and despite both my and the Prof attempt to call back, our calls were never returned and the problem was never fixed. Each time we called we were told it had been escalated but they had no information and we would just have to wait for whenever they would fix it.

We were told that another dept was handling the repair and that was the only information they could provide.
They could not provide another person to speak to in the repair dept and may only provide a supervisor who would repeat that their dept did not handle repairs; therefore, they could not provide any technical information and I would just have to wait patiently for the problems to be fixed.
This uniquely unheard of method for an online computer service is not practical when you are in a one semester class and HW is graded on a continuing weekly basis throughout the semester. While waiting and waiting and waiting the grades continue to be skewed.

The problem was NEVER fixed.

I did not get the services I paid for and would advise students to be wary of this.
I am writing this because this book is the basis for the online HW that college Prof. are using
Another company with the ability to provide students with the services they are paying should result.
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on February 3, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I bought this book for a Chem class that ended up being dropped before the semester began. The company refunded my money quickly with zero questions asked. This is one of the many reasons I continue to use Amazon's textbook rental service. It simply cannot be beat! I have yet to be disappointed with a rec'd textbook. I highly recommend--will save any student lots of $$$.
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on May 22, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I ordered a used book for. To be honest I didn't expect the book to be in an excellent condition, and I couldn't distinguish between a new book and the one I received. It was very clean, like new, and the seller really deserves even single star of the 5 stars I gave.
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