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Linus Pauling's book

  1. Feb 26, 2008 #1
    I was in Barnes and Noble and few weeks ago searching through the science section, and I found a small book by Linus Pauling called General Chemistry. Alhtough it does not look like a normal textbook, it is supposed to contain all of the information that an undergrad needs to understand chemistry. I would like to purchase this to understand more about chemical processes, but I am concerned about the date that this was published. Do any of you own the book, and if you do, is it up to date? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2
    This is only my opinion, so listen to others also.

    I read Pauling's chemical bond book after taking general chemistry and organic chemistry. I loved it but probably could not have understood it before taking those courses.

    My wife took general chemistry with Pauling's textbook (in the 60s) and absolutely hated the book. She found it incomprehensible; there simply was not enough explanation. I don't know if later editions added any more explanations.
  4. Feb 28, 2008 #3
    The thing is that I saw a lot of positive reviews of it on Amazon, so I am now really uncertain. How about a book I found through PF - General Chemistry: Principles and Modern Applications by Ralph H. Petrucci, William S. Harwood, and Geoffrey Herring?
  5. Feb 29, 2008 #4
    Sorry, I don't know any of the modern chemistry texts.
  6. Feb 29, 2008 #5
    still, thanks for helping me.
  7. Feb 29, 2008 #6


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    I bought his book on Quantum Mechanics about a year ago. It was quite old also. I find it interesting that B&N would stock such a book. Usually you have to go to used bookstores for such items.
  8. Mar 31, 2011 #7
    Linus Pauling's book is excellent. It is the best gen chem book I know, but I think it is better after having had some education in the ideas of chemistry already.

    Brown et al's Chemistry: The Central Science is a great modern General Chemistry text. However, I think Munowitz's Principles of Chemistry is best. This is also new, but it isn't formatted in the same style as most texts. Munowitz explicitly states the things most gen. chem. books only say implicitly, which I would think would make it a great book to start with.

    General Chemistry hasn't changed a ton since Pauling's book came out. The biggest deficit is probably in quantum chemistry. Nanotechnology and new allotropes of carbon (nanotubes, fullerenes) have come about since the book was published too. I guess having an intro to quantum chemistry before a pchem class is pretty important, so I would say Pauling's book is not completely sufficient. But I still think that anyone interested in chemistry should read Pauling's book at some point.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  9. Apr 1, 2011 #8


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    Someone once said "Read the masters, not their pupils". This is sometimes true. Not always. I remember Fermi's book on thermodynamics as totally uninspired and no different from other ornery books on the subject. Though maybe these copied it. Dirac's books look like they could only be read by someone who doesn't need to.

    But there are some examples on the other side. That give you the insight, the underlying spirit, motivation and even simplicity of things.

    Read the reviews at Amazon. It sounds like it should not be the only Chemistry book you ever read, unless you only ever read one, but that it will help you a lot to read the others you need. At starting $6.50 used and $13 new and could sell on you are not risking that much.
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