I've been reading a lot lately about alchemy, and was therefore delighted to find a new book on the history of chemistry (that includes some on alchemy), just published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Trevor Levere takes on the impossible task of chronicling the developments in chemistry from its beginning to the present, in only a little over 200 pages. While he certainly fails to provide uniform coverage over that period of time (the details become pretty sketchy about 100 years ago!), this book is more readable than many of the more encyclopedic approaches. It is intended as an introduction to the history of chemistry. As such, it replows ground already harvested by others. I see very little original in it, but it might well serve its intended purpose. The last chapter ("Where Now, and Where Next? New Frontiers) is a too-succinct (17 pages) view of the current state of chemistry and its future.
Trevor H. Levere