Heterocyclic chemistry is not handled well in many general textbooks of organic chemistry

Heterocyclic chemistry at a glance 

John A Joule and Keith Mills 

Oxford, UK: Blackwells | 2007 | 160pp | ?17.99 (SB) | ISBN 9781405139182 

Reviewed by Ray Jones

Heterocyclic chemistry is one of those topics within chemistry and chemistry-related degree programmes that has to be taught because of its importance, but is not well handled in many general textbooks of organic chemistry. So a separate text is called for - but given the relatively small lecture blocks usually available (often just 5-10), even some of the well-known specialist texts such as Heterocyclic chemistry, also by Joule and Mills, now in a 4th edition (ISBN 9780632054534), can appear daunting to an undergraduate, and have too extensive a content to prompt their purchase. This is where the At a glance  series comes in. Having used other texts in the series, I was eagerly awaiting this volume. 

Joule and Mills have succeeded here in condensing the essence of introductory undergraduate heterocyclic chemistry into a slim volume, presented (as is the way in this series) in an A4 page format and in a very easy-to-grasp style with many structures and reactions. All of the key areas are covered: structure, reaction types, synthesis, with a general lead-in followed by the usual division into five- and six-membered rings with various heteroatom types and combinations. Less obvious sections on palladium couplings, heterocycles in biochemistry and in medicine are also added. Nothing is dwelt on at length, nevertheless all the key points are made. 

This book is squarely and successfully aimed at mid-course undergraduates, but will also find a market at other levels, because the price and the concise nature of the text make it a feasible purchase and easy read for all those working in the area. I shall certainly be recommending it to my own classes.