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Paperback Plastic: Making of a Synthetic Century, the Book

ISBN: 0887308627

ISBN13: 9780887308628

Plastic: Making of a Synthetic Century, the

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

From artificial hearts to pink flamingos, kevlar vests to credit cards, plastic has invaded every aspect of modern life. Surpassing wood, cotton, steel and glass in all categories (except possibly good taste), it is more than just a product of modern society: it has revolutionized our entire way of life. Plastic traces the obscure origins of synthetic materials to present: a century's worth of information on the fascinating inventors, speculators...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An excellent read

One would expect a history of plastic to be full of dreary minutia, of interest only to professional chemists. You couldn't be more wrong. The author is to be congratulated for taking a topic that could be dull and turning it into a historical account of how these substances have impacted our lives. Don't get me wrong, I am no lover of plastic but there are applications that require materials with the properties found in modern plastics. You just don't realize how crucial these substances are until you read this book.

A history tour of material innovations and inventors

Fenichell is highly readable. He has appreciation for inventors who have developed new materials for the service of society. His book offers a balanced perspective, coupled with engaging anecdotes. Well done!

A Fun and Enlightening read

I came across this book by accident,while travelling. The colorful cover caught my eye, but soon after reading a few chapters I was hooked. It's the perfect beach book. Plastic is now a word that can conjure the idea of "cheap" or "fake" but it was not always so. Fenichell starts us at the beginning of the discovery of the various materials like man-made rubber and other things we now take for granted, and tells the story of each innovation as though we are standing there in the lab and the inventor yells "Eureka!" Stories about the inventors range from funny (you know Goodyear is going to eventually succeed because of his famous name, but he has many misadventures before success arrives) to poignant, in the stories where someone desperately wants to achieve fame and fortune but their "plastic" product fails to catch on and their name disappears into oblivion. My only criticism is the chapter on my grandfather, who plays a prominent role in the history of plastic. Fenichell simplifies and distorts some of the facts about my grandfather's company, but I forgive him in that it makes the reading light and entertaining in the end (well, a couple of chapters get bogged down by technical explanations of certain chemical processes). This is a book for anyone interested in American history, sociology,and pop psychology: plastics of all kinds make up an inextricable part of every aspect of our daily lives.

I have one word for you...

This is a scholarly, tongue in cheek, thoroughly enjoyable peon to the most despicable of substances. Histories of science and industry could learn much from Mr. Fenichill's pleasing blend of knowledge and humor. This is one of my favorite books.

Superb history of plastic

Ever wonder about where things come from, how did they discover nylon, rayon, bakelite, tupperware, saran wrap? This book has the answers. Very readable.
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