Moby-Duck : The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, Paperback

Moby-Duck : The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


When Donovan Hohn first heard the remarkable story of how 28,904 bath toys spilled into the Pacific en route to the US from China and have been washing up along beaches throughout the world ever since, he decided to find out more and assumed he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to some 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.' Setting out on a series of journeys to track the renegade rubber ducks, Moby-Duck is an adventure into the heart of the sea through science, myth, the global economy and some of the worst weather imaginable, and the riveting story of an accidental odyssey which pulled Hohn into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring terrain of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy domain of Chinese toy factories.

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 is heading...). In the grand tradition of Tony Horwitz and David Quammen, Moby-Duck is a compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity for anyone who is interested in obsession, travel, plastic, and that great American novel, Moby-Dick.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages, 2 maps
  • Publisher: Union Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Memoirs
  • ISBN: 9781908526021



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This is a fascinating, well written book which combines true story, travel, science, a bit of biography and lots of literary references. The author was once a school teacher and I think this comes across, certainly in the fact that he is obviously well educated and also because of the literary references used throughout the book - I took this to be partly a nod to his previous career. The link to Moby Dick throughout is very clever, but I liked the references to Winnie the Pooh just as much!There is so much I liked about this book, I was quite sad to get to the end, although sometimes the science content was a bit tough going. What a fascinating journey the author has taken to uncover more of the story of the rubber ducks! I was horrified by the sheer scale of rubbish collected on the very rural beaches of Alaska and the descriptions of the garbage patch at sea are frankly shocking, as is the thought of degraded plastic particles potentially becoming part of our food chain. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time I think. My only regret is buying the kindle version rather than the physical book. I haven't seen the book, but I imagine the reading would be enriched with photographs - there are some on the writers website.

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