The past decade has seen some very fine books on the art and science of total synthesis
The way of synthesis: evolution of design and methods for natural products
Tom?s Hudlick? and Josephine W Reed
Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH 2007 | 1032pp | ?80.00 (HB) ISBN 9783527320776
Reviewed by Andrew J Phillips
The past decade has seen some very fine books on the art and science of total synthesis, and although it is different in many ways from other books in this field, The way of synthesisis also a very instructive and enjoyable read.
After an introduction that covers much of the usual fare in terms of the history of organic synthesis, the authors spend the next 150-odd pages discussing broad questions of strategy and design before progressing to comparative discussions on a number of significant syntheses of the past several decades. Many of the syntheses are in areas where Hudlick? has worked, and this results in a unique and somewhat personalised outlook. This is further supplemented in many cases by retrospective comments from the other people whose work Hudlick? discusses. This makes for some fascinating reading.
The book closes with a personal discourse on some of the cultural aspects of the field that the authors perceive as strengths and weaknesses. The way of synthesis is perhaps not ideal for classroom adoption, but it is nonetheless a book that will both educate and provoke. It would be a valued addition to the library of all scholars of the science of synthesis.