The focus of this volume by Professor Russell is the history of organic chemistry, which arose improbably out of early speculations about the construction of chemical compounds, and in particular their electrochemical nature. The rise of electrochemistry and the work of Berzelius were critical in this regard, and receive much attention in the first few chapters in this book. Aspects of the contributions of Frankland (fully explored elsewhere) and those of KekulA and Hofmann are considered, together with the miscellaneous functions of organic synthesis and the origins of conformational analysis. Questions of chemical organisation are germane to the whole sequence of events and are briefly summarized before the whole last hundred years of organic chemistry are placed in historical perspective.
Professor Colin A. Russell, The Open University and the University of Cambridge. UK