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The Logic of Chemical Synthesis.

The Logic of Chemical Synthesis. By E.J. Corey and Xue-Min Cheng (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1 Wiley Drive, Somerset, NJ 08875-1272, 1989. Problems in synthesis have intrigued chemists for decades. Approaches to synthesis have developed from early bases in analogy, association, and intuition to case study and retrosynthetic analysis, and molecules under study have become increasingly complex. As the authors point out, the increasing level of sophistication of synthetic work has been facilitated by our developing knowledge of reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry, as well as our access to improved instrumentation for separation, analysis, and identification, and to application of new selective reagents.

This book draws heavily from the activities of E.J. Corey's group in natural products synthesis. The first section deals with general approaches to the analysis of synthetic problems and embraces strategies based on transforms, structure and topology, stereochemistry and functional groups. Concurrent use of several strategies is emphasized and exemplified by seven cases. These are developed synthetically in the second section which is devoted to some 90 synthesis of natural products (shown in flow-chart form with occasional comments) carried out by the Corey group. For this section, the reader will have to derive the analysis. The third section is a compendium of natural products which have been synthesized, with references given.

This book is well-referenced (references to 1988) and well-produced. While the examples discussed are drawn from natural products chemistry, the book is an excellent buy for professional chemists and for advanced students engaged in general organic synthesis. The text does, however, assume familiarity with the terminology of retrosynthetic analysis, and is concerned with relatively complex molecules. It is not really a book for beginners.

M.S. Gibson Brock University
COPYRIGHT 1990 Chemical Institute of Canada
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Gibson, M.S.
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1990
Words:284
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