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Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath…
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Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the… (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Donovan Hohn

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4571822,782 (3.29)17
Member:snoble23
Title:Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author,Who Went in Search of Them
Authors:Donovan Hohn
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn (2011)

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Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn is the Pacific Ocean's answer to Charlie Connelly's Attention All Shipping (LINK). Both start with a simple concept and turn into a mixture of travelog, memoir, and social essay.

In the 1990s, a container ship was hit by a wave and dropped some of its cargo, namely 28,000 (at best count) bath toys: ducks, beavers, frogs, and turtles. The ocean managed to force open the crates. The salt water dissolved the cardboard packaging, The ocean currents did the rest.

Their path took the toys into the Arctic Circle where they got trapped in the ice later began washing up on Alaskan shores. Many years later reports surfaced of sun bleached bath toys showing up on Eastern Seaboard beaches.

Hohn's book started as an exploration of the currents, the trash eddies, and climatology. It morphed into a study of container shipping (and just how much stuff is probably lost overboard but left unreported). The book includes interviews of people who found the toys as well as thoughts on how the hunt for them brought people together.

While interesting, I wanted more from the book. The book would have been stronger with photographs: the actual toys, the people interviewed, etc. It also needed more maps and infographics. The book is basically crying for illustrations. ( )
  pussreboots | Apr 3, 2015 |
I wanted to like this a lot more, but I felt like it wasn't cohesively written enough. I actually only got about 3/4 of the way through, then decided I'd gotten everything out of it that I could. ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
I wanted to like this a lot more, but I felt like it wasn't cohesively written enough. I actually only got about 3/4 of the way through, then decided I'd gotten everything out of it that I could. ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
I wanted to like this a lot more, but I felt like it wasn't cohesively written enough. I actually only got about 3/4 of the way through, then decided I'd gotten everything out of it that I could. ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
Very interesting in parts, although my overall reaction is disappointed. I found the book to be rambling more than was necessary. As if the writer was taking us on the same vague, non-linear journey that he was on. I respect that he sought after this mystery - of a load of floating toys lost overboard in the Pacific in 1992 - without much training or even planning. Without a goal or a conception of what he was looking for. I understand that. However, once he got to the end - or whenever he decided to stop - I was expecting a summation of what (at least) *he* thought it to mean. I didn't really even get that. We do get his opinion on various things as the transpire in the book. Some very environmentally scary things, some humorous stories, and long pages of drifting along - like the floating toys he is seeking. Overall - I did enjoy most of it. With some significant trimming and some kind of summation, it would have been wonderful. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
In a book that works as a lively travelogue as well as a voyage of discovery and a philosophical inquiry of sorts (How did toy animals evolve into children’s playthings? And why are beloved, clichéd toy ducklings yellow when most species are not?) Mr. Hohn begins by taking a series of public ferries from Washington to Alaska, commenting as he goes about the ups and downs of that journey.
added by lorax | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Feb 20, 2011)
 

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Epigraph
Facing west from California's shores,

Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,

I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,

the lands of migrations, look afar...

-Walt Whitman
There are more consequences to a shipwreck than the underwriters notice.

-Henry D. Thoreau
Dedication
For Beth, and for my father, and for my sons.
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At the outset, I felt no need to acquaint myself with the six degrees of freedom. (Prologue)
We know where the spill occurred: (Chapter 1)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670022195, Hardcover)

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year

A revelatory tale of science, adventure, and modern myth.

When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn's accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories.

Moby-Duck is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable. With each new discovery, Hohn learns of another loose thread, and with each successive chase, he comes closer to understanding where his castaway quarry comes from and where it goes. In the grand tradition of Tony Horwitz and David Quammen, Moby-Duck is a compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When the author heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. His accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories. This work is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable. With each new discovery, he learns of another loose thread, and with each successive chase, he comes closer to understanding where his castaway quarry comes from and where it goes.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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