“Before there was an environmental movement, there was one brave woman and her very brave book” – Peter Matthiessen
“Very few books change the course of history. Those that have include Silent Spring” - Linda Lear
Rachel Carson was the author of five classic books on nature and the environment. Silent Spring is one of the most important and influential books of the twentieth century.
Rachel Carson was born in Pennsylvania in 1907. She received an MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932 and began writing radio scripts for the US Bureau of Fisheries, and feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun.
She always considered herself a writer rather than a scientist. She wrote pamphlets on conservation while employed as Editor in Chief for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In her free time she turned her government research into finely crafted prose, first with Under The Sea Wind (1941) and its two companion volumes, which together form a lyrical biography of the sea, The Sea Around Us (1952) and The Edge of the Sea (1955).
Disturbed by the widespread use of pesticides in the US after WW2, she decided to warn the public about the effects of their long-term misuse. Silent Spring changed the way that governments and the world viewed science and the natural world. It changed the course of history, and has sold millions of copies since its first publication in 1962.
Rachel Carson died of breast cancer in 1964, but left an important and enduring legacy.
“Silent Spring came as a cry in the wilderness. Without this book the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never have developed at all” – Al Gore