Jack Calvert et al
Oxford University Press
2011 | 1329pp | £210 (HB)
ISBN 9780199767076

From organic aerosol to ozone formation, oxygenates (organic compounds bearing oxygen functional groups) play a crucial role in the chemistry of the atmosphere. This book, the fourth in a series dedicated to detailing the mechanisms of oxidation of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere, begins by highlighting just how important oxygenates are. Given that almost all organic compounds will form oxygenates during their atmospheric oxidation, there is no surprise that the book is rather large (covering a staggering total of 442  compounds).

Those familiar with the other books in the series will be pleased to see that the structure used in previous books has been preserved. The book is split into broadly four sections: a generous introduction to the chemistry and physical properties of the oxygenates; several subsections, nicely divided by functional groups, dedicated to detailing the gas kinetics of the oxygenates and their oxidation mechanisms; a section dedicated to the photodecomposition of the oxygenates (covering 117 compounds) and finally a section on the effects of oxygenates on atmospheric chemistry.

The paper, binding and printing are all top quality. My only concern is, given the size of the book, one wonders whether the binding will stand up to serious use over time. Although colour is absent from all the main figures in the book, it is not sorely missed and the figures are all produced to a very high standard. The consistency in the reproduction of graphs is good to see and allows the reader to easily compare different data by eye.

I doubt that even the most keen atmospheric chemists will find the book a page turner but I think anyone that has a copy will find themselves (as I have) coming back to it regularly.

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