Roy A(rthur) Gallant Henry W. Hubbard - Essay

Henry W. Hubbard

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Everything has its place though it is difficult to find one for ["The ABC's of Chemistry: An Illustrated Dictionary"]. It will be of only minimum help to those who have not yet had high-school chemistry, because it requires knowledge of specific terminology and language. And for those already studying chemistry, the book offers little extra dimension or freshness of approach to complement the course. The definitions read as though they came from a chemistry text, and this the public schools already provide free of charge. DDT, for example, is defined as "An insecticide made from coal tar." Billions of bugs have been silenced by DDT; it and the other chlorinated hydrocarbons have been loudly condemned for silencing the birds of spring, yet DDT and the entire, heavily researched field of insecticides receive six words. Other topics get more—the inert gases get seven full lines and two cross references. The author carefully explains why some gases cannot combine with any other element, apparently unaware that this theory came down with a crash in 1962 when xenon tetrafluoride was created with embarrassing ease.

Henry W. Hubbard, "New Books for the Younger Reader's Bookshelf," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1964 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), January 12, 1964, p. 20.∗