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14 of 14 people found this helpful
Not good enough
on November 3, 2012
I know this review will be filed under the listing for the solutions manual, but I'm writing about both the text and the manual and, quite frankly, they share parallel flaws and errors. So here goes...
If there's anything enjoyable about Shriver and Atkins' "Inorganic Chemistry" (5th ed), it's the presentation. Nice organization of material with broad scope and colorful figures. The book itself is relatively lightweight too. It certainly doesn't seem as though this text is a typical undergraduate chemistry book.
Unfortunately, that's a statement that applies as much to this book's flaws as it does its (few) strengths. Atkins' explanations are terse and lean, and his definitions of terms lack the clarity that a first-time student of inorganic chemistry - like myself - so often desperately needs. Examples are plentiful, but their 'solutions' vary between superfluous (and poorly - or even arrogantly - worded) and insufficient, and most end-of-chapter exercises and problems are either unclear in their desired solutions or only tangentially related to the 'skills' (whatever they're supposed to be - the text does very little to build up problem solving skills) presented in each chapter.
Which also brings me to the solutions manual, where one unfortunately finds even more flaws: not just lean explanations, but also plenty of errors and mistaken assumptions that could easily have been resolved had the manual's authors bothered to re-read what they wrote one more time. (For a glaring example, find a copy - don't buy one if you don't have to! - and consult the solution for Exercise 1.2. (The good news: the book's website has a free PDF of solutions to the self-tests and exercises.) Don't panic if you somehow find your arithmetic disagreeing with the authors'; it really should be 102.) I'm starting to suspect that Shriver and/or Atkins deleted whatever this other team had to offer and wrote in the solutions themselves.
Unlike many of the other reviewers who have posted their opinions here, I can't offer any alternative texts for Shriver and Atkins' version. But if you're looking to learn from a good text, look elsewhere.