Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $3.17 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 18 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shows a medium amount of wear and usage. Ships FAST and FREE from Amazon's warehouses.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Periodic Table Paperback – April 4, 1995


See all 16 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.83
$7.36 $0.12
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Frequently Bought Together

The Periodic Table + Survival In Auschwitz
Price for both: $22.93

Buy the selected items together
  • Survival In Auschwitz $11.10

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; Reissue edition (April 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805210415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805210415
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Writer Primo Levi (1919-1987), an Italian Jew, did not come to the wide attention of the English-reading audience until the last years of his life. A survivor of the Holocaust and imprisonment in Auschwitz, Levi is considered to be one of the century's most compelling voices, and The Periodic Table is his most famous book. Springboarding from his training as a chemist, Levi uses the elements as metaphors to create a cycle of linked, somewhat autobiographical tales, including stories of the Piedmontese Jewish community he came from, and of his response to the Holocaust. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“I immersed myself in The Periodic Table gladly and gratefully. There is nothing superfluous here, everything this book contains is essential. It is wonderful pure, and beautifully translated…I was deeply impressed.” –Saul Bellow

“The best introduction to the psychological world of one of the most important and gifted writers of our time.”–Italo Calvino

“A work of healing, of tranquil, even buoyant imagination.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Brilliant, grave and oddly sunny; certainly a masterpiece.” –Los Angeles Times

“Every chapter is full of surprises, insights, high humor, and language that often rises to poetry.” –The New Yorker

“One of the most important Italian writers.” –Umberto Eco

With a new Introduction by Neal Ascherson


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
48
4 star
14
3 star
3
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 65 customer reviews
His books are thought provoking and enjoyable reads.
K. A. Stultz
In these short memoirs he tells the story of a chemist, a chemist that is living in Mussolini's Italy, a chemist that is Jewish and survived Auschwitz.
Michael Wischmeyer
This book is a series of stories, each with an element from the periodic table as its theme.
greglor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Jae Brodsky on February 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I was 14, my high school chemistry teacher gave my class a writing assignment, which really pissed us off. We were in a chemistry class, why did Mr. Ellison expect us to write a short story? It wasn't actually an entire story: the first half was already written for us. It was about the 'adventures' of one atom of carbon. I felt like I was reading a book for small children on molecular chemistry because the writing style was simple, with no extra flourishes and long, scientific phrases. How demeaning to 14 year old me! In any case, I went home and wrote a completely uninspired ending to the carbon-atom fairy tale. If I remember correctly, the rest of the class did the same thing. Some were better than others, but none of them even began to come close to the original ending.
Mr. Ellison took our mediocre stories and, in a bargain where we definately got the better deal, gave us the end of Primo Levi's Carbon, the last chapter of The Periodic Table. Nothing had prepared me for it. That simple style that I had so despised the night before was in fact the work of a writer who had stripped off all of those unnecessary phrases that I had been looking for, who had left nothing but the unadorned truth. Struck by this, I went out and bought the book.
It consists of 21 chapters, each of which have an element of the periodic table as their themes. But in truth each chapter/story is based on one idea which is explored. Some stories are pure fiction, some are remembrances, and some are meditations. They range from family gatherings to amusing teenage chemistry mistakes to the threads that bind us all together. Levi was not only a gifted chemist and a gifted writer, but someone who had that rare talent of opening his personal philosphies to the reader, and you can't help but feel that you've gotten to know him by the end of the book, which certainly makes the read worth it.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on September 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Primo Levi was a gifted writer that happened to practice chemistry. In these short memoirs he tells the story of a chemist, a chemist that is living in Mussolini's Italy, a chemist that is Jewish and survived Auschwitz. Levi has written of Auschwitz previously and only a single chapter in "The Periodic Table" directly discusses Auschwitz.
To many readers the career of a chemist might seem as exciting as the career of an accountant or a tax attorney, essential to society, but better left to someone else. It hardly seems the subject for a remarkable literary work.
Levi paints an intriguing portrait of a chemist, a detective unraveling the secrets of matter, a philosopher searching for meaning. We learn much about the kinds of problems that excite a chemist and how a chemist goes about searching for answers. But we learn more about Levi himself, about life in a Fascist state, and about human relationships in difficult situations.
Primo Levi titled each chapter with the name of an element that either plays a role in that particular chapter or exhibits characteristics that are metaphorically descriptive of human relationships portrayed in that chapter.
Most chapters revolve about an important biographical event. However, the first chapter, Argon, tells a rather quiet (inert) story of the unexciting Levi family history and it might be best to skip chapter one until later. Hydrogen, the second chapter, is more exciting, almost explosive. Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Nickel, and others follow.
Three chapters - Lead, Mercury, and Carbon - are fictional. I was absolutely fascinated by all three. Levi is a great story teller. Lead should be read by students of history and Mercury likewise.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book, like all truly great books, can be viewed in many ways. A possible, rewarding one is to view it as the story of an education. Each chapter, named after the periodic table of the elements, tells about the acquisition of an important piece of the mosaic that was Primo Levi.There is the discovery of the "essential language" of science, as opposed to the void rethoric of fascism, the discovery of courage, in the chapter named "Iron", of rigor, in the "potassium". But this is not a didactical book. This is a series of wonderful tales, of exquisite poetry and of life, true life. I didn't read more than five books comparable to this one.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow said, regarding this book, "There is nothing superfluous here; everything this book contains is essential. It is wonderfully pure and beautifully translated."
Since I read this book in the original Italian, I cannot attest to the beauty of the translation. However, I would agree with Bellow that the book is wonderfully pure and lacking in the superfluous.
The Periodic Table, Primo Levi's fantasy regarding chemical elements and written in his elegant, spare style, is filled with images that animate the chemist's world. To a trained chemist, as Levi was, the molecular world is very real, and the its underlying events do not go unnoticed. This is the world that exists beneath the one we usually see; the world that gives matter its colors, tastes, smells, shapes and capacities. Levi's desire for a more complete understanding of the chemical world parallels his desire for a more complete understanding of the spiritual world of mankind.
In this book, Levi tells us, in part, of his years as a teenager and of his experiences with another young man named Enrico. Both boys wanted to become chemists, but for very different reasons. Enrico thought that chemistry would be the key to a more secure life. Levi, however, looked at chemistry as a way to understand and make sense of the universe. He says, "Chemistry represented an indefinite cloud of future potentialities which enveloped my life to come in black evolutes torn by fiery flashes." He goes on to describe his burning desire to find the truths hidden in chemistry by telling us that he would have grabbed Proteus, himself, by the throat and forced him to speak, so great was his hunger.
Levi's burning desire for a deeper understanding of the universe and all it contains is not new.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?