The book that sparked the modern environmental movement, with an unprecedented collection of letters, speeches, and other writings that reveal the extraordinary courage and vision of its author
This deluxe Library of America volume presents one of the landmark books of the twentieth century together with rare letters, speeches, and other writings that reveal the personal courage and passionate commitment of its author, Rachel Carson. A huge bestseller when published in September 1962, Silent Spring led not only to many of the laws and government agencies that protect our air, land, and water, but prompted a revolution in environmental consciousness. Now for the first time, in previously unpublished and newly collected letters to biochemists, ecologists, cancer specialists, ornithologists, and other experts, Carson's groundbreaking exposé of the unintended consequences of pesticide use comes together piece-by-piece, like a puzzle or detective story. She makes common cause with conservationists and other allies to build public awareness, hiding her private battle with cancer for fear it might distract from her message. And in the wake of her book's astonishing impact, as she becomes the target of an organized campaign of disinformation by the chemical industry, Carson speaks out in defence of her findings while remaining a model of grace under pressure. Throughout the collection, Carson's lifelong love of nature shines through. In writings both lyrical and intensely moving, she conveys her "sense of wonder" to her young nephew, dreams of conserving old-growth forest in Maine for posterity, and recounts her adventures and epiphanies as birdwatcher and beachcomber.
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was born on a family farm near Springdale, Pennsylvania. She earned a master's in zoology at Johns Hopkins before taking a job with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. She published Under the Sea-Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951, winner of a National Book Award), and The Edge of the Sea (1955). Silent Spring (1962), her exposé of the disastrous ecological effects of pesticide use, was an international bestseller.
A research biologist and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber was inspired to activism by Silent Spring, becoming one of America's leading environmental writers and antipollution advocates. Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College, her books include Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (1997), Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood (2001), and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (2011).