Silent Spring
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Silent Spring

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Rachel Carson's 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. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Lord Shackleton, a preface by World Wildlife Fund founder Julian Huxley, and an afterword by Carson's biographer Linda Lear. Now recognized as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, Silent Spring exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, Rachel Carson succeeded in creating a new public awareness of the environment which led to changes in government and inspired the ecological movement. It is thanks to this book, and the help of many environmentalists, that harmful pesticides such as DDT were banned from use in the US and countries around the world. Rachel Carson (1907-64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. Her first book, Under the Sea Wind, appeared in 1941. Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the dangers of the misuse of pesticides, was published in 1962. Carson's articles on natural history appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Holiday. An ardent ecologist and preservationist, Carson warned against the dumping of atomic waste at sea and predicted global warming. If you enjoyed Silent Spring, you might like John Christopher's The Death of Grass, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Carson's books brought ecology into popular consciousness' Daily Telegraph 'Very few books change the course of history. Those that do include Silent Spring' Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Natureshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 16mm | 240.4g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141184949
  • 9780141184944
  • 4,237

Review Text

It should come as no surprise that the gifted author of The Sea Around Us and its successors can take another branch of science- that phase of biology indicated by the term ecology- and bring it so sharply into focus that any intelligent layman can understand what she is talking about. Understand, yes, and shudder, for she has drawn a living portrait of what is happening to this balance nature has decreed in the science of life - and what man is doing (and has done) to destroy it and create a science of death. Death to our birds, to fish, to wild creatures of the woods- and, to a degree as yet undetermined, to man himself. World War II hastened the program by releasing lethal chemicals for destruction of insects that threatened man's health and comfort, vegetation that needed quick disposal. The war against insects had been under way before, but the methods were relatively harmless to other than the insects under attack; the products non-chemical, sometimes even introduction of other insects, enemies of the ones under attack. But with chemicals- increasingly stronger, more potent, more varied, more dangerous- new chain reactions have set in. And ironically, the insects are winning the war, setting up immunities, and re-emerging, their natural enemies destroyed. The peril does not stop here. Waters, even to the underground water tables, are contaminated; soils are poisoned. The birds consume the poisons in their insect and earthworm dies; the cattle, in their fodder; the fish, in waters and the food those waters provide. And humans? They drink the milk, eat the vegetables, the fish, the poultry. There is enough evidence to point to the far-reaching effects; but this is only the beginning,- in cancer, in liver disorders, in radiation perils..... This is the horrifying story. It needed to be told - and by a scientist with a rare gift of communication and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Already the articles taken from the book for publication in The New Yorker are being widely discussed. Book-of-the-Month distribution in October will spread the message yet more widely. The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late! (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson (1907-64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. Her first book, Under the Sea Wind, appeared in 1941. Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the dangers of the misuse of pesticides, was published in 1962. Carson's articles on natural history appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Holiday. An ardent ecologist and preservationist, Carson warned against the dumping of atomic waste at sea and predicted global warming. The Edge of the Sea, which completed her biography of the sea, is also published in Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics. Rachel Carson died of cancer at the age of 56.show more
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