My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Periodic Kingdom by Atkins is an accessible overview of basic chemistry. However, instead of presenting the information that the periodic table can tell us in a droll, textbook form, Atkins takes us on a journey and teaches the reader to look at the periodic table as a whole instead of in parts.
Atkins breaks down the period table and presents information from a general overview to the more minute details of how the elements interact. The first part of the book starts off with describing the periodic table, it’s layout, and it’s history. This wove history and chemistry facts together so seamlessly that the reading is quick and enjoyable.
The second half the book flies in closer to the periodic table to look at the atoms themselves, then how the atoms react with one another. This part breaks down the ins and outs of what makes chemistry work into an attainable logic.
Out of the entire book, I noticed a single typo. It was on page 106 when they were discussing isotopes. Instead of saying the excess mass was made up of neutrons, they put protons. Despite this minor infraction to chemistry, the book was solid and wonderfully written.
If I taught a beginning chemistry class, I would have this as required reading. It is good for both high school and college levels without much of an issue, and it may even be accessible for middle school with the help of a dictionary on occasion.