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General Chemistry (Dover Books on Chemistry) 3rd Edition

55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486656229
ISBN-10: 0486656225
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Linus Pauling: Two-Time Nobel Laureate
In 1985 Dover reprinted Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry, a well-known older book by Linus Pauling and E. Bright Wilson. This book had been first published fifty years earlier and remarkably still found readers in 1985, and still does today, twenty-five years further on.

The first edition of Pauling's General Chemistry was a short book of less than 250 pages published in 1944, during World War II. Three years later, it had more than doubled in size to almost 600 pages, and the 1953 edition was over 700 pages. Fifteen years later, for the 1970 edition, it reached its final size and configuration at almost 1,000 pages ― and that is the edition which Dover reprinted in 1988. Dr. Pauling's one request at that time was that we keep the price affordable for students.

Linus Pauling is of course the only Dover author to win two Nobel prizes, for Chemistry in 1954 and for Peace in 1962; he is the only winner in history of two unshared Nobel Prizes.

In the Author's Own Words:
"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life."

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error."

"The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away."

"Facts are the air of scientists. Without them you can never fly." — Linus Pauling

Critical Acclaim for General Chemistry:
"An excellent text, highly recommended." — Choice


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Chemistry
  • Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 3 edition (April 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486656225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486656229
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

189 of 195 people found the following review helpful By A. Jogalekar VINE VOICE on December 16, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Linus Pauling was teaching undergraduates at Caltech, he found that none of the existing undergrad texts would serve his purpose.So he decided to write his own. This was in the 1940's. The result, 'General Chemistry', even after more than 50 years, is one of the best introductions to chemistry at the University level that I know of. I discovered this book in my sophomore year and after that I couldn't put it down. If you really read this book thoroughly, you can probably say that you have an excellent grasp of most of the fundamental principles of chemistry. Pauling's masterly style of explaining the essentials without compromising on information is unmatched. The small, simple calculations that he illustrates in each chapter are enlightening. In addition, the book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful figures by Roger Hayward. Pauling has a special knack of bringing out the flavor of seemingly boring but important topics like thermochemistry and ionic equilibrium. If you want one book that will launch your chemical knowledge on the right trajectory, trust me and buy this one. You will be enlightened by it forever.
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113 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Einsteinian on September 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting, if somewhat dated and eccentric textbook by the man who was probably the leading chemist of the twentieth century. It is full of interesting insight, and written with real flair, so much unlike the typical textbook today produced by the textbook publishing machines.

Let me give a couple of examples, good and bad, of what makes this book interesting, but also exasperating.

The book is the only freshman chemistry text I know of that has a derivation of the Boltzmann distribution P ~ e^(-E/kT), a very basic relation in the kinetic theory of gases and in fact in all of statistical physics. The derivation is simpler than most, which makes it a real jewel especially at this level, where most people would think it doesn't belong.

On the other hand, the section on chemical bonding, which is actually where Pauling made his reputation, is very eccentric, like the author, so much so that it makes the book unsuitable as the sole text for a course. It is all based on sp3 hybrid orbitals. As far as I can tell, sp2 and sp hybrids are never mentioned. With the sp3 story, Pauling is able to account surprisingly well for some systematics of bond lengths. Whether this is fortuitous or not, I don't know, but it is interesting. On the other hand, without sp2 and sp hybrids, he is completely unable to give the standard, very simple, beautiful account of bond angles. A student learning introductory chemistry from this text who then went into organic chemistry would soon be at a disadvantage without knowing the theory of hybrid orbitals that everyone else would get from any of the standard contemporary texts.

My recommendation: use this text as a very insightful, quirky supplement. The price is certainly right.

The text that comes closest, in my opinion, in seriousness, if not eccentricity, is the contemporary text by Oxtoby and coauthors. It is too highbrow though for most college introductory chemistry courses.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Even though this is NOT the most up to date and technically correct text out there, it is still the best introduction to general chemistry I've seen which is why I rated it 5 stars (I refuse to dock it points for being old, unlike other reviews of other books I've seen). I found a copy at a garage sale, best four bucks I've spent in a while. The format of this book is superb, basing thermodynamics on his discussion of statistical mechanics and QM-he found it makes learning much more smooth, and I happen to agree. If someone would get permission to update this book and not much more, perfect general chem text for a college sequence. For those who'd like more physical and mathematical detail, the appendices are chock full of derivations, integrations and connections to make your heart swoon. Excellent book.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Matthew M. Yau on October 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Linus Pauling's treatise on general chemistry is exciting and interesting. The book presents very basic but in-depth discussion of chemical phenomena such as thermodynamics and molecular structure. It is clear, reader-friendly, and easy to read. It is not meant to be just a textbook but a fun book for evening reading. No mathematical background is assumed. I recommend this book for undergraduate students as well as everyone who is interested in reading science but curbed by all the mathematical manipulations.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is my 800th published review on Amazon so I thought I'd try to do something a little special. I review a lot of non-fiction and science books in various areas, and when I saw Pauling's classic text recently, I knew it fit the bill.
This is the unabridged Dover 1988 republication of the original 3rd edition published by W.H. Freeman and Co. in 1970 (the 1st ed. was 1947, if I remember right). At 972 pages, 26 long chapters, 16 appendices, and 283 figures and illustrations, it's a monster of a book even for a chemistry text.
When the text first appeared, it marked a major landmark and innovation in the teaching of chemistry in the extent to which Pauling was able to present the entire subject of chemistry in terms of its underlying unifying principles rather than as a collection of unrelated chemical facts. Pauling closely ties in the observable phenomena of chemistry with the most powerful theories, which he says include modern atomic and molecular theories, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and thermodynamics.
Not the least of its virtues is that it is, despite the high-level treatment, surprisingly easy and enjoyable to read. The occasional mathematical treatments aren't easy for the beginner, certainly, but overall the book is quite approachable in terms of the style.
Pauling presents statistical mechanics first since he believes it's easier to grasp for the beginning student than chemical thermodynamics. Although there is some advanced math and calculus, as I said, most of that is located in the many appendices.
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