Chemistry (4th edition)

Catherine Housecroft and Edwin Constable 

UK: Prentice Hall 2010 | Pp1517 | £45.40 (PB) | ISBN9780273733089

Reviewed by Matthew Almond

Cover of Chemistry (4th edition)

This is a new edition of a book that is now familiar to many lecturers and students of chemistry in British universities. Like the previous editions it is aimed at the first year undergraduate and is designed to provide balanced coverage of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

I have used this book extensively for my teaching in the areas of atomic and molecular orbital theory, descriptive inorganic chemistry and basic spectroscopy. In all of these I find the book to be very useful, providing clear descriptions and giving a resource for students to use outside lectures.

It provides good backup material for the weaker student and clear guidance for further reading for the more advanced student. The problems, both worked examples and questions at the end of each chapter, are very useful. I like the use of boxes to break up the text with interesting examples of background theory or applications. As with most chemistry text books nowadays the illustrations are quite beautiful.

An interesting extension of this book is the possible use, for an extra payment, of the Mastering Chemistry web-based resources. This allows online tests and questions to be set to students using the book. Lecturers can monitor student answers and performance online. I trialled this with my students last year - the feedback was that the weaker students found the questions to be useful, whereas the stronger students generally thought the questions to be too straightforward. Perhaps some more advanced examples could be included in the future. 

I recommend this book with one small proviso; with each new edition it gets bigger and it is now so heavy that it is difficult for students to take to classes.

Related Links

Mastering Chemistry
Chemistry (4th edition)