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Plastic: The Making of a Synthetic Century

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  33 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Perhaps Dustin Hoffman should have paid attention to that unsolicited investment advice in "The Graduate." Plastics really are the future. Indeed these smooth oil-based synthetic polymers, available in a spectrum from rainbow-colored through raindrop transparent, are already so ubiquitous in our lives that we barely notice them. Expertly and entertainingly, Stephen Feniche ...more
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published June 28th 1996 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1996)
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Claire
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished! This book is a fascinating read, especially as a chemical engineer. The author is so snarky and smart, I found myself laughing aloud while learning useful things. Big thoughts I had reading the book: (1) America has always been full of entrepreneurs it's not a new fad. (2) This should be required reading for high school chemistry students - why isn't there a textbook that teaches chemistry through the lens of discovery? (3) The history of WW2 should include the story of the rus ...more
Riley
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Drew Schwartz
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who makes their living selling or producing plastic
Plastic: The Making of a Synthetic Century was written by Stephen Fenichell in 1996 as a history of the plastics business. It describes the winding path that a wide range of plastics took from the lab to the marketplace. The book is filled with many, many interesting anecdotes about the entrepreneurs who blazed that trail.

The book is organized into 13 chapters arranged, mostly, in chronological order. There is the predictable, "Just one word......Plastics" cliche from The Graduate movie used as
...more
ActionScientist
May 27, 2009 rated it liked it
The story on the invention of plastic. Like modern money it has become indispensible to capital economies (endless cycle of cash -> products -> cash) because it's conveniently dispensible and clogging the Earth's rivers and oceans with soda-pop, crisps and candy containers. At a billion tonnes of the stuff produced each year, most likely on drink and food containers and junk toys, it's a big growing mess. No solution in sight. I experience the ignorance of littering as heart-breaking, espe ...more
Nate
May 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
The history of plastic parallels the cultural history of America through the Industrial Revolution leading up through Vietnam. The politics involved and the unique plastics fanatics that saw the material through to its preeminent position perched upon a sterile and brightly colored throne of Industry.
Sam
Jul 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fofbc
Engaging and informative.
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