Introduction to Mineralogy
By William Nesse
Oxford University Press, 496pp | Buy on Amazon

Mineralogy is one of the most beautiful and most difficult subjects in geology – I had a love/hate relationship with it in my undergrad years. Reading an introductory textbook takes me back, and brings back lots of memories – and it doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to textbooks. The second edition of Introduction to Mineralogy does a great job at complementing its predecessor and sets a high standard for mineralogy textbooks worldwide.

The book mostly addresses geology undergrads, but anyone working in a related field and wanting to familiarize himself with the topics can learn something from it. All the major aspects are adressed, including crystallography, chemical bonding, controls on mineral structure, mineral stability, and crystal growth. Commonly used techniques are discussed as well, and detailed descriptions of minerals and their physical and chemical properties are thoroughly explained.

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Numerous drawings and images complement the text, though to be honest, I was a bit surprised to see that there are no color photos – not that I find them truly necessary, but the book’s cover misled me a bit in that direction. But the text is written in an accessible and fluid way, which makes it as easy as possible to get through the discussed ideas; as I mentioned above, mineralogy truly is a difficult subject, and no thorough book is ever going to be easy, but Introduction to Mineralogy keeps it about as easy as it gets.

All in all, if you want to study Mineralogy and are in need of a book, I’d definitely recommend it. The info is there, it’s condensed, and while familiarizing yourself with the subject will take time, if you learn it the right way, you won’t ever forget it; and this is what Introduction to Mineralogy does – it helps you learn mineralogy the right way.

If anything, I’d maybe argue that some of the subjects were maybe too condensed, but you have to make some cuts if you don’t want to end up with a thousand page book. Since it came out, the book had such an impact that basically all mineralogy books use it as a standard.