March's Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reactions, Mechanisms, and Structure, Sixth Edition (March's)
Organic chemistry is a vibrant and growing scientific discipline that touches a vast
number of scientific areas. This sixth edition of ‘‘March’s Advanced Organic
Chemistry’’ has been thoroughly updated to reflect new areas of Organic chemistry,
as well as new advances in well-known areas of Organic chemistry. Every topic
retained from the fifth edition has been brought up to date. Changes include the
addition of a few new sections, significant revision to sections that have seen explo-
sive growth in that area of research, moving sections around within the book to bet-
ter reflect logical and reasonable chemical classifications, and a significant rewrite
of much of the book. More than 7000 new references have been added. As with the
fifth edition, when older references were deleted and in cases where a series of
papers by the same principal author were cited, all but the most recent were deleted.
The older citations should be found within the more recent one or ones. The funda-
mental structure of the sixth edition is essentially the same as that of all previous
ones, although acyl substitution reactions have been moved from chapter 10 to
chapter 16, and many oxidation or reduction reactions have been consolidated
into chapter 19.
Like the first five editions, the sixth is intended to be a textbook for a course in
advanced organic chemistry taken by students who have had the standard under-
graduate organic and physical chemistry courses.
The goal, as in previous editions is to give equal weight to the three fundamental
aspects of the study of organic chemistry: reactions, mechanisms, and structure. A
student who has completed a course based on this book should be able to approach
the literature directly, with a sound knowledge of modern basic organic chemistry.
Major special areas of organic chemistry: terpenes, carbohydrates, proteins, many
organometallic reagents, combinatorial chemistry, polymerization and electroche-
mical reactions, steroids, etc. have been treated lightly or ignored completely. I
share the late Professor March’s opinion that these topics are best approached after
the first year of graduate study, when the fundamentals have been mastered, either
in advanced courses, or directly, by consulting the many excellent books and review
articles available on these subjects. In addition, many of these topics are so vast,
they are beyond the scope of this book.
The organization is based on reaction types, so the student can be shown that
despite the large number of organic reactions, a relatively few principles suffice
to explain nearly all of them. Accordingly, the reactions-mechanisms section of
this book (Part 2) is divided into 10 chapters (10–19), each concerned with a dif-
ferent type of reaction. In the first part of each chapter the appropriate basicmechanisms are discussed along with considerations of reactivity and orientation,
while the second part consists of numbered sections devoted to individual reactions,
where the scope and the mechanism of each reaction are discussed. Numbered sec-
tions are used for the reactions. Since the methods for the preparation of individual
classes of compounds (e.g., ketones, nitriles, etc.) are not treated all in one place, an
index has been provided (Appendix B) by use of which all methods for the prepara-
tion of a given type of compound will be found. For each reaction, a list of Organic
Syntheses references is given where they have been reported. Thus for many reac-
tions the student can consult actual examples in Organic Syntheses. It is important
to note that the numbers for each reaction differ from one edition to the other, and
many of the sections in the fifth edition do not correlate with the fourth. A correla-
tion table is included at the end of this Preface that directly correlates the sections
found in the 5th edition with the new ones in the 6th edition.
The structure of organic compounds is discussed in the first five chapters of Part 1.
This section provides a necessary background for understanding mechanisms and is
also important in its own right. The discussion begins with chemical bonding and
ends with a chapter on stereochemistry. There follow two chapters on reaction
mechanisms in general, one for ordinary reactions and the other for photochemical
reactions. Part 1 concludes with two more chapters that give further background to
the study of mechanisms.
In addition to reactions, mechanisms, and structure, the student should have
some familiarity with the literature of organic chemistry. A chapter devoted to
this topic has been placed in Appendix A, though many teachers may wish to cover
this material at the beginning of the course.
The IUPAC names for organic transformations are included, first introduced in
the third edition. Since then the rules have been broadened to cover additional
cases; hence more such names are given in this edition. Furthermore, IUPAC has
now published a new system for designating reaction mechanisms (see p. 420), and
some of the simpler designations are included.
In treating a subject as broad as the basic structures, reactions, and mechanisms
of organic chemistry, it is obviously not possible to cover each topic in great depth.
Nor would this be desirable even if possible. Nevertheless, students will often wish
to pursue individual topics further. An effort has therefore been made to guide the
reader to pertinent review articles and books published since about 1965. In this
respect, this book is intended to be a guide to the secondary literature (since about
1965) of the areas it covers. Furthermore, in a graduate course, students should be
encouraged to consult primary sources. To this end, more than 20,000 references to
original papers have been included.
Although basically designed for a one-year course on the graduate level, this
book can also be used in advanced undergraduate courses, but a one-year course
in organic chemistry prior to this is essential, and a one year course in physical
chemistry is strongly recommended. It can also be adapted, by the omission of a
large part of its contents, to a one-semester course. Indeed, even for a one-year
course, more is included than can be conveniently covered. Many individual sec-
tions can be easily omitted without disturbing continuity.
The reader will observe that this text contains much material that is included in
first-year organic and physical chemistry courses, though in most cases it goes more
deeply into each subject and, of course, provides references, which first-year texts
do not. It has been my experience that students who have completed the first-year
courses often have a hazy recollection of the material and greatly profit from a
representation of the material if it is organized in a different way. It is hoped that
the organization of the material on reactions and mechanisms will greatly aid the
memory and the understanding. In any given course the teacher may want to omit
some chapters because students already have an adequate knowledge of the material,
or because there are other graduate courses that cover the areas more thoroughly.
Chapters 1, 4, and 7 especially may fall into one of these categories.
This book is probably most valuable as a reasonably up-to-date reference work.
Students preparing for qualifying examinations and practicing organic chemists will
find that Part 2 contains a survey of what is known about the mechanism and scope
of a large number of reactions, arranged in an orderly manner based on reaction
type and on which bonds are broken and formed. Also valuable for reference pur-
poses are the previously mentioned lists of reactions classified by type of compound
prepared (Appendix B) and of all of the Organic Syntheses references to each