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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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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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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
In this book Donovan writes more about plastic generally and what it is doing to the environment than he does about the toy ducks the book suggests it is about. So even though the book is informative, it could also be deemed disappointing.
  NikNak1 | Apr 2, 2016 |
The full title of Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn is 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, which really rather nicely encapsulates what this nonfiction book is about. An accident happens at sea and a container ship accidentally dumps 28,800 plastic bath toys (7,200 red beavers, 7,200 green frogs, 7,200 blue turtles, and 7,200 yellow ducks) into the Pacific ocean.

Hohn writes: "We know where the spill occurred: 44.7 degrees North, 178.1 degrees East, south of the Aleutians, near the international date line, in the stormy latitudes renowned in the age of sail as the Graveyard of the Pacific, just north of what oceanographers, who are, on the whole, less poetic than mariners of the age of sail, call he subarctic front. We know the date - January 10, 1992 - but not the hour. (pg. 9)" After the spill beachcombers began to find the bath toys and a legend grew out of the initial news story that placed duck sightings from the spill even in the Atlantic.

Donovan Hohn goes in search of the bath toys trying to discover where they beached. This lead him to investigate plastics and what they are doing to the oceans and shorelines. His research also leads him to investigates ocean currents, gyres, shipping, Chinese toy manufacturing, and the arctic, among others. So, while Moby-Duck is ostensibly about the plastic bath toys lost at sea, they really become a rather small portion of his eventual investigation and travels.

While there is a wealth of information here, I did end up wishing that Hohn had concentrated on the bath toys lost at sea. What originally intrigued him enough to inspire the book also captured my imagination and made me want to read it. While I did enjoy it, it became a rather slow read full of more information than I was originally anticipating. It helps that he is a good writer and has a nice way with descriptions and imparting information. Hohn includes a selected bibliography and notes, which I always appreciate in nonfiction.
Highly recommended - but know it's about much, much more than the missing bath toys.
http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Makes some good points regarding ocean pollution but message gets somewhat diluted by authors tangents and musings. ( )
  Cricket856 | Jan 25, 2016 |
On January 10, 1992, a container ship traveling south of the Aleutians took a steep roll and lost part of its cargo. The incident had near-mythical repercussions. Among the lost merchandise were 7,200 packs of bathtub toys. Each four-piece set included a blue turtle, a green frog, a red beaver and a yellow duck. In little more than 24 hours the ocean was transformed into a mighty bathtub on which bobbed 28,800 plastic toys. The migration of this vast flock bobbing on the currents of the Pacific has been monitored by environmentalists, meteorologists, and an English teacher from Manhattan named Donavan Hohn.

There were so many interesting stories this book could have told about ocean conservation and water pollution. It could also have been a humorous hunt for the lost rubber ducks. But it didn't tell those stories. The end result was a rambling and verbose monologue with no apparent point at all.

This is really a story about plastic in the ocean and the currents, surface and deep, that move things in the ocean. Why that was so interesting that the author decided to take off to Alaska in the last month of his wife's pregnancy where he remained out of cell phone range is something I can't explain. I was very disappointed and can't think of a single person I would recommend it to. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Not only a change of pace, but really interesting. I loved Hohn's voice and his subject and I thought that the science was very well explained. Lots of people have recommended this book and so do I.
  hailelib | Jul 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (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.
First words
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)

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