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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful General Chemistry Text, January 18, 2011
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This review is from: Chemistry: Principles and Reactions (Hardcover)
I used this text in my AP Chemistry course a couple of years back, and now that I'm in college and planning on taking some physical chemistry courses I decided that having this book as a reference would be good. So I bought the 5th edition of this text for a cent. I distinctly remember this book being great for a couple of reasons. The first is the size.

The reviewer who said that this book must only contain a forth of the information that other textbooks have because it is a forth of the size is clearly mistaken. In my own field of study (math), we know better than to say such nonsense. The reason for this book's slimness is because the authors have taken care to present the material in a precise, clear, and unified fashion, as opposed to dribbling on and describing the same thing five different ways. If you don't believe me, take a look at the table of contents. This book's size is not indicative of the volume of content contained.

Another reason why I liked this book so much is that it gives a unified approach to chemistry. Sections like gasses will often come back and support new sections to provide insight. One example of this is how the authors use the ideal gas law alongside the theory of vapor pressure to properly analyze how gasses and liquids behave together in a a closed environment. The author's do not present a collection of party tricks. The student will never get into the mindset of "ok, i have this type of problem, and so I reference this equation to solve it" without really knowing the material. Another example is that the authors do not present every single variation on the ideal gas law (Charles, Boyle, etc...). Instead, the authors present the ideal gas law in its entirety, and the student sees that all of the others are trivial byproducts when some variables are held constant. By not wasting pages talking about all of those variations, we have a slimmer text that better teaches the student what is "actually" going on.

Another thing I liked about this text is that often they will have a series of examples that are worked out in full detail whenever an important topic is discussed. Part (a) might just be a trivial computation that anyone could solve by reading the text, but part (d) or (e) will be an intricate problem that brings together many topics previously discussed and shows how they all work together to solve an interesting chemical problem. This is good because chemistry itself is not divided up into nice chapters, and it also teaches students to make connections between what they had previously learned and what they are currently learning (hence, this adds to the "unified approach").

The last thing I would like to comment on is the quality and quantity of exercises. I learned that the best way to learn chemistry is to do chemistry. So no matter how well written this text is, it fails if it does not have good problems. Thankfully, the problems in the text are relevant to what you learned in the chapter, and they range in difficulty. There are a great number of problems too, and so if a student is having problem with Gibb's Free energy (for example), then there will be a series of problems that the student can work on if he or she wished to get better. By the end of the problems relating to whatever section they correspond to, the student will no longer have trouble, and I think this testifies to how well this text works. Often, the problems will bring together several branches of chemistry, and there are many interesting problems that are not simply of the "drill and kill" style.

Overall, this is a great text, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great general chemistry education. For those of you who might be thinking that this text is at too low of a level for college, I put my chemistry knowledge against many of my fellow students here at UMich, and my education and understanding beats most of theirs. So I would say that this book if probably better than most of the current ones used in college courses today.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 11, 2011 5:23:35 PM PST
shadowknight says:
Woot! Go Blue! I'm bought this book to co-teach myself AP Chemistry because my school only offers "honors chemistry." Hoping for credit for CHEM 125, 126, and 130 and a 5 on the AP Chemistry test. Your review was extremely helpful and appreciated. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2011 2:42:34 PM PST
This book can definitely help you pass out of all of those classes. I got a 5 in the AP using this book, and this book definitely made the AP test look like a joke. Good luck!

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 6:45:57 AM PST
Alan Meyer says:
This is a great review, very detailed and with all of the conclusions explained and justified.

Thanks.
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