Guidebook to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry
By Peter Sykes
Review by Andrew (Chemistry)
If ever there was a book that could reveal the intricacies and beauty of Organic Chemistry, Peter Sykes has surely provided us with it. Despite its aged appearance, Sykes offers a fresh perspective on Organic Chemistry, swaying away from mindlessly listing reactions without explanation or thought; the book reveals a richness that is sadly missed by the A Level Chemistry course.
From the beginning, the book offers an emphasis on learning how to think like an Organic chemist, gently building upon previous knowledge to provide a detailed indication of how, armed with a small arsenal of skills and a clear and logical approach, any problem can be successfully tackled. Although I read this after I arrived, I would have personally relished the opportunity to read this book before coming to university since it encourages the reader to look for the patterns that underlie Organic Chemistry and not simply to be deemed as an exercise in memorising hundreds of mechanisms – a rather dull and unnecessary task indeed. Organic Chemistry is frustratingly dull at school since no explanations are offered – simply a memory test – and left me wondering, when do we get to the good stuff – the weird and wonderful hexagons and pentagons that underpin our existence. Allow Sykes to whisk away any murmurs of boredom, for to enjoy Organic Chemistry, you must first see its scope and diversity, as evidenced in this fantastic book.
This is a highly relevant and accessible book that will be useful for A Levels and will significantly ease the transition to more advanced Chemistry. Rather than reading the book religiously, it is sensible to dip in and out of the book, getting a flavour for the different areas of Chemistry covered and how each topic is inextricably linked to another – one of the real joys of the subject. Along with Why Chemical Reactions Happen? there is no better book to introduce and divulge the exciting and intriguing world of Chemistry.
A Guidebook to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry by Peter Sykes