Silent Spring

By Rachel Carson,

Book cover of Silent Spring

Book description

First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. "Silent Spring became a runaway bestseller, with international reverberations . . . [It is]…

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Why read it?

9 authors picked Silent Spring as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This was the most popular environmental book of its time. It opened many people up to the assault on nature. This book motivated me to become part of the environmental solution. This book changed the unbridled use of chemicals used on the environment. It helped get rid of DDT in the US. It was an introduction for me to environmental awareness in the 1960s and 1970s.

Often billed as one of the most influential science books of all time, I was surprised by how much original research it contains. Reading this today, 70 years after its publication, I find that it is still scientifically sound, hugely relevant, and appropriately balanced; it should be required reading for all politicians, let alone scientists.

I love this book, not only because it was so ahead of its time, but for the reason why it was so ahead of its time. Rachel Carson, like Darwin, took time to amass so much forensic detail that her revolutionary conclusions could not be…

This book is famous for sounding the alarm about the devastating impact humans were having on the environment. Species of fish, mammals, insects, and even the iconic Bald eagle were at risk of extinction as a result of the indiscriminate use of substances like DDT.

With her book, Rachel Carson propelled the American environmental movement and all that followed: Earth Day, the Clean Air and Water Acts, and the banning of DDT. But Carson was also sounding the alarm about how that environmental impact could be devastating for human health too. The very same substances that threatened Bald eagle chicks…

From James' list on the environment and health.

The most powerful book about the ways in which humans have despoiled our planet ever written.

Silent Spring was published in 1962 and was a wake-up call to the dangers of pesticide pollution and the insidious destruction of the natural world. The modern environmental movement grew from this one book, and though it was written more than half a century ago, it is as pertinent now as ever it was.

The honeybee is critically endangered by the continued use of agricultural pesticides and though they may be different from the ones Carson warned against, they are deadly nonetheless.

From Luke's list on bees and beekeeping.

This pivotal book was given to me by my grandmother when I was about 16 years old. In a tattered state, it is still part of my library. It is the seminal text for all of mankind to consider how the earth has suffered during the long epoch of the Industrial Revolution. 

I would tell my friends that Rachel begins with a fable, a spring without the sound of birds. Just as Oliver Rackham in Woodlands begins with a fable to tell the story of how trees came into being.  

For a powerful assessment of Carson’s role in the great…

Two years ago I´ve read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring for the first time. I was baffled. It´s a book on the biodiversity crisis in the 50s and 60s, but it seemed like reading a new release. That´s not only because of Carson’s lively and modern way to describe the vanishing of insects and birds because of DDT & Co. It´s also because the spreading of as powerful as disastrous pesticides still continues today as does the view that nature has to serve humans.

I read her book as a child, and it never left my memory. I was drawn to her “Fable of Tomorrow,” which she used to set the stage, and which became unforgettable in her readers’ minds. It launched the environmental movement. It is a literary device that inspired me in the writing of my essays, which at times take on the character of a fable.

From Leopoldine's list on trees in literature and art.

Credited with the launch of the modern environmental movement, Silent Spring is that rare work that alters the course of human history. Yet it remains revelatory today, due to the author’s beautiful writing and storytelling. Rachel Carson grew up in an idyllic riverside town in Western Pennsylvania, an area sandwiched between coal-fired steel plants that polluted the landscape. She went on to study biology and ecology in college. She had already established herself as one of the nation’s top science writers when she became alarmed at the non-military uses for DDT as a pesticide that was being sprayed widely over…

David Attenborough, the natural historian famous for the Planet Earth series, cited Silent Spring as likely the most influential book on the scientific community since Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. It didn’t start out that way. 

Upon its release, author Rachel Carson was accused of everything from being a communist to advocating for genocide. Her astute analysis survived the storm and opened a space for launching the Environmental Protection Agency. Most importantly, her research initiated a public dialogue around the long-term sustainability of the living world.

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