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The Chemicals of Life Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1962


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (May 1, 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451624181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451624185
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Written in 1954, some of the material and current facts in this book are dated. However, Asimov is such a good expository writer that in most cases it does not matter. He covers the basics of proteins, vitamins and enzymes in such a lucid style that it is still possible to learn a great deal of the basics from this book. Since it is designed to explain the fundamentals of the complex chemicals of life and most of the advances since the writing are in the working out of the details, there are very few places where his statements are incorrect.
Asimov starts with the structure of proteins, how they are built, their complex structure and how they act as catalysts throughout the human body. This is followed by explanations of vitamins, how they work, their structure and what happens when the body experiences a shortage. The final sections deal with hormones, where they are produced and how they interact to control the metabolism of the body.
Fifty years after it was written, I can still recommend this book as a primer on the fundamental chemistry of the mammalian body. While many things have changed since then, the quality of the writing trumps nearly all of the obsolescence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William P. Palmer on December 26, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Review of `The Chemicals of Life' by Isaac Asimov.

CITATION: Asimov, Isaac (1962). The Chemicals of Life (Signet Science Library). New York: New American Library of World Literature, Inc.

Reviewer: Dr W. P. Palmer.

The remarkable feature of this excellent book is that it was written more than half a century ago in an area noted for its rapid progress. The book was copyrighted in 1954 and published in a paperback Signet edition in 1962. It is an introduction to biochemistry and is thus an elementary treatment often defining the terms that will be useful in further study, so in general the basic concepts have changed little in the last fifty years. The book, 132 pages long, consists of ten chapters and an index.
Chapter 1. The All-important Protein
Chapter 2. Enzymes: Proteins that make haste
Chapter 3. Enzymes and body chemistry.
Chapter 4. Enzymes and digestion.
Chapter 5. Enzymes and energy.
Chapter 6. The friends and foes of Enzymes
Chapter 7. The B Vitamins
Chapter 8. Other Vitamins
Chapter 9. Protein Hormones
Chapter 10. Other Hormones

Of course, using an old biochemistry book as the basis of current knowledge has considerable risks. For example, the index does not contain the words `helix' or `double helix'. Crick and Watson made their discoveries about the structure of DNA in 1953, so to Asimov writing this work at about the same time, the structure of DNA would have been the very latest research and not at all suitable as part of a beginner's guide. Now the structure of DNA would, in outline, be knowledge adapted to curriculum material for primary schools.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CPUGuy1 on February 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Asimov does a good job describing the process of the human body's in take and use of chemicals. From the air we breath, the food we eat, the effect of sun on our skin (making Vitamin D) and many more. Step by step explaination. Some with diagram. All simplified and in a language a non-medical person can understand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peggy on January 19, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book I realized that I was able to picture a very sophisticated schematic or blue print of the human body which confirms to me that only GOD could have created mankind and that we were not created perchance as some think. No not even possible. There really is a GOD!!
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