Organometallic transition metal chemistry: from bonding to catalysis

Organometallic transition metal chemistry: from bonding to catalysis

John Hartwig

Sausalito, US: University Science Books 2010 | 1160pp | ? 58.99 (HB)

ISBN 9781891389535

Reviewed by Steven Nolan


The students and teachers of organometallic chemistry have been waiting a long time for what is fundamentally a third edition of Collman and Hegedus’s Principles and applications of organometallic chemistry.   

As onefrom a generation who was taught organometallic chemistry from the first edition and taught from the second edition (Collman, Hegedus, Norton and Finke’s Principles and applications of organometallic chemistry), reading the voluminous amount of material covered by Hartwig (with the help of numerous contributors) in this very updated version, I can appreciate how such an endeavour could have taken 7 years to complete. 

This textbook by Hartwig covers the fundamentals of bonding and electron counting just as its predecessors. The rudimentary ligand classes and bonding motifs are clearly presented and explained. As an understanding of fundamentals is at the heart of latter chapters on catalysis, these sections are of the utmost importance. 

The text then moves to catalysis in its numerous incarnations: from hydrogenation to cross coupling reactions, alkene polymerisation to olefin metathesis, and finally presents industrially important catalytic processes. Catalytic reactions are discussed in details with important mechanistic details highlighted.

One must remember that the pioneers of organometallic chemistry were physical organic chemists and that to date a fundamental understanding of mechanism guides major developments in the field. The textbook clearly highlights this and Hartwig’s own contributions to the area represent an invaluable teaching tool.

This more than 1100-page textbook is likely to have as profound an influence on organometallic chemistry students and researchers as its ancestors. Hartwig has compiled an enormous amount of organometallic chemistry into a readable and very well organised textbook. He has created what will surely become the textbook from which to teach the subject for many years to come.