Cover image for In the mouth of the dragon
In the mouth of the dragon
Wallace, Deborah.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Garden City Park, N.Y. : Avery Pub. Group, [1990]

Physical Description:
xviii, 230 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library TH9446.P55 W35 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

The bulk of this book consists of six case studies of major fires through which Wallace attempts to create sentiment against plastics, especially polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and for fire safety regulation--much as Rachel Carson did for pesticides in Silent Spring. Wallace does convince the reader that existing combustion tests, standards, fire and building codes, code enforcement, emergency services, public agencies, and private companies send out false assurances, and that neither firefighters nor the public are adequately protected against very toxic or fatal fumes from burning plastics. Her model of a successful resolution is the New York State Building Code, passed in 1986. The book is only a partially successful synthesis of technical and popular material; recommended for larger collections only.-- Jan ice Dunham, John Jay Coll. Lib., N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Wallace attempts to deal, in lay language, with the fire-related decomposition of plastics and the particular dangers of fires fueled by plastics. After two chapters on the chemical properties of polymers and laboratory tests of polymer degradation at high temperature, there are six chapters, each describing in some detail major fires fueled partly by plastics. Each of these fires caused multiple deaths and each thus was a cause celebre in the public media. Here the descriptions are more thorough than usual. Finally, two chapters deal with the perceived failures of regulatory agencies and with methods available to the public to pressure these agencies. Thus, this book deals with a timely, important topic, and one generally ignored. Unfortunately, Wallace is so prejudiced against plastics of any sort in any application, and the discussion is so onesided and intemperate, that what should be balanced, basic information becomes a passionate diatribe. Recommended with serious reservation, to general libraries. -L. A. Wenzel, Lehigh University

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