Top positive review
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Excellent teaching and reference book for years 3,4 but not years 1,2
on 30 July 2010
There has been a long history of comparing this book with the Shriver & Atkins competitor "Inorganic Chemistry", with a lot of snaring at the Atkins book (although the current Atkins 4th ed.n is greatly improved). The Housecroft book is excellent for its breadth of coverage, clear diagrams, volume of chemistry and detail given, and its willingness to not merely be an encyclopedia, but a teaching tool for students with a firm foundation in chemistry. And that audience difference is the crux of the difference with the Atkins book, where the balance is far more heavily towards identifying patterns of properties as a teaching tool, rather than description of cases. The chapter on d block elements fairly represents this: Atkins chapter finds patterns of reactivity/property in the first period; but Housecroft, after intro work, largely goes through Sc to Zn, element by element in detail, addressing each oxididation state and major compound class. This reference tool use is emphasised in Housecroft when in such core chapters there can often be a note that there is evidence for a particular compound but that it is not accepted, whereas the pedagogical Atkins is concerned about teaching known chemistry and not uncertainty. In my view both books are excellent but for differing audiences and needs. The Housecroft book for example lacks the excellent teaching pages from Atkins 4th ed.n (chapter 4.9-4.12) where Atkins uses the Lewis acid/base concepts to unite coordination chemistry reactivity and relates Bronsted acids to this as a special case. Similarly Housecroft lacks Atkins (found at chap. 4.6) integrative cross group comparison of metal oxide acidity, basicity and amphotericism. So in conclusion then, Housecroft is excellent, but lacking those valuable few pages of integrative explanation of reaction patterns through out the book, is (not surprisingly) not perfect.