Reactive intermediate chemistry

Reactive intermediate chemistry
R A Moss, M S Platz and M Jones Jr. (editors)
Hoboken, New Jersey, US: John Wiley and Sons 2004 | Pp 1072 | ?59.95 | ISBN 0471233242
Reviewed by Mike Whittlesey

Nowadays it is just about impossible to open a chemical journal without seeing a proposed or postulated reaction mechanism or catalytic pathway containing (occasionally verified) reaction intermediates. This excellent book brings us up to date (at least to 2002) with the state of play on organic reaction intermediates. Three of the world’s leading authorities have edited this major work consisting of 22 chapters, each written by an expert in their field.

The physical-organic and reaction chemistry of individual species (carbocations, singlet/triplet carbenes, nitrenes etc) are described in the first 16 chapters. I particularly like the conclusion and outlook sections that end each chapter suggesting to the reader where future challenges lie.

The remainder of the book provides very much of a ’this is how to do it’ (and more usefully at times, this is how to do it wrong!) survey of techniques, covering time-resolved spectroscopy (from nano to femtosecond), matrix isolation and computational methodology.

All of the chapters are well illustrated with schemes and figures. Each chapter ends with extensive referencing and useful pointers to more general texts.

The target audience is graduate students and above. The cost may be put some off but for the amount of information and detail it includes, I think the book is a bargain and would argue that anyone interested in the area of reaction intermediates, either from the organic or physical perspective, should own a copy. It is certain to become an invaluable reference source for the foreseeable least until the authors and editors can be convinced to produce Reactive intermediate chemistry II.