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.