Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn
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

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Synopsis

A compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity- "adventurous, inquisitive, and brightly illuminating" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times).

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 arena 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.


 

About Donovan Hohn

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DONOVAN HOHN is a journalist whose work has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and Outside, as well as being featured in Best American Science Writing and the Best Creative Nonfiction. The recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, he is currently a senior editor at Harper's magazine. He lives in New York with his wife and children.
 
Published March 3, 2011 by Penguin Books. 416 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Travel, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Moby-Duck

Kirkus Reviews

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A finely spun chronicle of the wide-ranging quest to track the wanderings of a rubber duck lost at sea, from Harper’s senior editor Hohn.

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The New York Times

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Donovan Hohn’s quixotic investigation of 29,000 bath toys lost at sea works as a lively travelogue as well as a voyage of discovery and a philosophical inquiry.

Feb 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

The New York Times

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There’s a philosophical aspect to his quest as well — a search for a watery wilderness that would “refresh my capacity for awe” (which is why Hohn looks forward, while riding a container ship across the North Pacific in winter, “to a little Sturm and possibly some Drang”) and a desire to make a j...

Mar 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

Publishers Weekly

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Whimsical curiosity begets a quixotic odyssey and troubling revelations about plastics polluting the seas in former high school teacher and journalist Hohn's charming account of what he learned searching for 28,800 rubber bath toys lost at sea in 1992.

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New York Journal of Books

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The narrative is divided into “chases” as Hohn widens his quest from a hunt to find ducks that have washed ashore to a search for facts about their manufacture and transport, and an inquiry into the wheelings and dealings of corporate and government interests vis-à-vis those of environmentalists ...

Mar 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

The Telegraph

One of those containers contained 28,800 plastic “Floatees”, plastic bath toys shaped like beavers, frogs, turtles and ducks.

Feb 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

The Bookbag

Summary: The intriguing image of a plastic bath toy adrift on the ocean prompted the author to investigate what happened to nearly 30,000 of the toys and the result is a very readable and compelling book with a wake-up call over what we are all doing to the planet.

Mar 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

Dallas News

It seems 28,800 plastic bath toys — including thousands of “rubber” duckies Ernie memorably serenaded on Sesame Street — washed overboard in January 1992 from a container ship in rough North Pacific seas.

Mar 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

We Love This Book

Almost 20 years ago the container ship Ever Laurel encountered rough weather in the mid-Pacific, causing it to lose cargo, including children's bath toys.

May 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

London Review of Books

On the evidence of one dubious sighting of a plastic duck on the coast of Maine, Ebbesmeyer thinks that some of the toys might even have been carried north into the Bering Sea, then northeast embedded in ice through the Arctic and finally south again into the North Atlantic.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Dustin Michael Harris Minneapolis Star Tribune 3.5 of 5 Stars "Lost shipping containers are not unusual, so while journalist Donovan Hohn does a thoughtful job of explaining the historic, economic, artistic and scientific context for this problem through that 1992 spill, the unique pleasure ...

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

Chicago Sun Times

Author Donovan Hohn was so taken with the idea that he quit his job to tell the tale of the toys in 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 .

Mar 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

Alaska Dispatch

It represents this vision of childhood – the hygienic childhood, the safe childhood, the brightly colored childhood in which everything, even bathtub articles, have been designed to please the childish mind, much as the golden fruit in that most famous origin myth of paradise ‘was pleasant to the...

Apr 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Moby-Duck: The True Story of ...

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