Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
on July 31, 2010
Julia Burdge is a co-author for Brown, Lemay, Bursten's Chemistry: The Central Science, 9th edition. I consider the BLB Chemistry textbook to be the gold standard when reviewing a chemistry textbook. Silberberg's chemistry textbook comes in second.
Her 1st edition textbook appears to be more interested in showing you all kinds of math problems throughout the chapters and does not go into enough detail or explain the science and theory that goes on in Chemistry. The theory aspect is really important, especially when you're going to higher level chemistry courses such as Organic Chemistry. There must a balance in a textbook between being introductory and having enough of the detailed information.
Another problem with this textbook is that it is practically a mirror image of Raymond Chang's textbook. Throughout the textbook, many charts and tables have been copied from Chang's textbook. One such table is the solubility rules in Chapter 4, which probably has to be the most confusing solulibity rules chart out of any textbook.
Unfortunately, Julia Burdge once taught at the University of Akron and they adopted her book for 3 semesters before deciding that it was terrible. I've personally spoken with several professors who agree that the quality of the book is subpar. I've also studied with other students in small groups and we've agreed that it is hard to understand this textbook. I went ahead and purchased a copy of both Brown, Lemay, Bursten's Chemistry: The Central Science and Silberberg's textbook and used those instead.
I took both Chemistry 1 and 2 with Burdge's textbook as the assigned book. I was lucky to have those other chemistry books that I mentioned above because I was actually quizzed and tested on material that was not found in Burdge's book. Although the material was presented in the lecture, an adequate textbook should contain all the necessary material so that a student can go back and read the applicable sections in context and obtain a more thorough understanding.
If you want a book that just has a bunch of math problems dealing with Chemistry and skimps on explaining concepts, then what you have is a Julia Burdge textbook.
I'd recommend finding out from your professors if it is okay to purchase alternate textbooks such as the BLB textbook or Silberberg and use those instead.
I cannot in good conscience recommend this textbook.
One last thing: Dr. William Donovan who is in charge of Chemistry education at the University of Akron wrote a section for this textbook. In hindsight, after all the problems that students experienced over the last few semesters (student grades actually went down), I'm willing to bet he regets having this as the assigned textbook. Thankfully, he along with the other professors came to their senses and will be going back to the Silberberg textbook starting Fall 2010 as they were using Silberberg before they adopted this terrible excuse for a Chemistry textbook.
The market is already flooded with many Chemistry textbooks and there was never a need for this one.