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I need a good book that explains the basics of chemistry in a lucid and importantly, systematic manner. Most books on this subject are not comprehensive and assume that the reader is well acquainted with certain topics. Also, most chemistry books have references to later chapters. And later chapters, references to earlier ones. This makes it very confusing.

I would like a book that assumes (effectively) no prior knowledge and builds up the basics needed to understand chemistry (structural theory, acid-base theory, electrode potentials) to a level adequate to understand undergraduate level organic and inorganic chemistry.

The reason I need this book is because frequently, while studying inorganic and to a certain extent organic chemistry, I am unable to understand the rationale behind a certain reaction. And most textbooks do not take the effort of explaining it. So, chemistry, for me, just reduces to memorizing a set of reactions. I think solid basics should remedy that.

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    $\begingroup$ This is one of those things that is going to hinge on personal preferences more than anything. In addition to being opinion-based, it's also quite broad. In these situations I always recommend that people go to a local university library and flip through a few textbooks to find one that they can learn from. If you don't have access to a university library, your local library can usually request the books to be sent interlibrary loan. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Nov 28 '14 at 2:43
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For the concepts underlying General Chemistry find that Huheey's book gives very lucid explanations. As far as Organic Chemistry goes, vol. A of Carey-Sundberg's opus might be what you are asking for. What level of text are we looking at?

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  • $\begingroup$ The level of text of would be typically undergraduate or even a bit lower. $\endgroup$ – Gerard Nov 28 '14 at 1:04

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