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December 2017 Vol. 55 No. 4

Beacon Press

The following review appeared in the December 2017 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Science & Technology
Earth Science

Eriksen, Marcus. Junk raft: an ocean voyage and a rising tide of activism to fight plastic pollution. Beacon Press, 2017. 225p index ISBN 9780807056400, $26.95; ISBN 9780807056417 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Junk Raft is not a textbook in any sense of the word. It is more a diary of a Pacific Ocean voyage conducted by the author and a colleague on a raft constructed of plastic debris recovered from the Pacific Ocean. The destination was the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a “swirling gyre of plastic pollution” in the Pacific Ocean. Much of the purpose of the book is to highlight the problem of floating plastic garbage in the world’s oceans, but also to investigate the problem of microscopic plastic debris that results from the breakdown of larger floating plastic objects in the oceans. The book is written from an activist point of view, so little science creeps into the text. It is quite biased in favor of good (environmentalists) versus evil (plastics manufacturers). From this reviewer’s reading of the text, the author appears to believe that any science that does not conform to the environmental-activist position is inherently dishonest and not to be trusted. The book is a quick read and would be a good supplement in an environmental sciences class, provided a balanced source is available.

--M. S. Field, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.