Rachel Carson: Silent Spring & Other Environmental Writings
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
Library of America launches its Rachel Carson edition with this deluxe illustrated volume presenting 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. 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 Now for the first time, in previously unpublished and newly collected letters to biochemists, ecologists, cancer specialists, ornithologists, and other experts, Carson's groundbreaking expose of the unintended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 defense 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. A future companion volume will gather Carson's "sea trilogy": Under the Sea-Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951), and The Edge of the Sea (1955).
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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 expose 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).