White Silk and Black Tar: A Journal of the Alaska Oil Spill

Page Spencer, Author Bergamot Books $9.94 (0p) ISBN 978-0-943127-04-0
This two-month journal of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by a native Alaskan and ecologist with the National Park Service is more personal than journalistic, and is too limited in its perspective and content to involve the general reader. Nearly a third of the journal is confined to a one-week examination of the beaches for oil contamination; the rest of the book is a vague account of personal and professional activities--assembling materials and crew for the project, writing reports, complaining frequently about not spending enough time with her new husband and about her difficulties withstanding the stress of the task. Spencer demonstrates little conception of how her work monitoring the ecological effects of the spill fits into the clean-up as a whole. She seems only marginally interested in the procedures performed by her friends or even her husband (who is also on the team); she says in passing that the crew does epibenthic sampling and fingerling seining but doesn't explain these terms. The author's discomfort with Park Service lawyers and with environmental experts who are not Alaska residents further hampers her faculties of observation. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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