Heterocyclic compounds have a wide range of applications but are of particular interest in medicinal chemistry, and this has catalysed the discovery and development of much heterocyclic chemistry and methods.

The preparation of a fifth edition has allowed us to review thoroughly the material included in the earlier editions, to make amendments in the light of new knowledge, and to include recent work. Within the restrictions that space dictates, we believe that all of the most significant heterocyclic chemistry of the 20th century and important more recent developments, has been covered or referenced.

We have maintained the principal aim of the earlier editions – to teach the fundamentals of heterocyclic reactivity and synthesis in a way that is understandable by undergraduate students. However, in recognition of the level at which much heterocyclic chemistry is now normally taught, we include more advanced and current material, which makes the book appropriate both for post – graduate level courses, and as a reference text for those involved in heterocyclic chemistry in the work place.

New in this edition is the use of colour in the schemes. We have highlighted in red those parts of products (or intermediates) where a change in structure or bonding has taken place. We hope that this both facilitates comprehension and understanding of the chemical changes that are occurring and, especially for the undergraduate student, quickly focuses attention on just those parts of the molecules where structural change has occurred.

For example, in the first reaction below, only changes at the pyridine nitrogen are involved; in the second example, the introduced bromine resulting from the substitution and its new bond to the heterocycle, are highlighted. We also show all positive and negative charges in red.

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