About Rachel Carson: Silent Spring & Other Writings on the Environment (LOA #307)
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 Now for the first time, in previously unpublished and newly collected letters to biochemists, ecologists, cancer specialists, ornithologists, and other experts, Carson’s groundbreaking expose of the unintended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 AroundUs (1951), and The Edge of the Sea (1955).
“The number of books that have done as much good in the world [as Silent Spring] can be counted on the arms of a starfish.” —Jill Lepore, The New Yorker
“Silent Spring, then as now, is a shock. . . . Two hundred pages of letters and talks and short articles fill out the balance of [this Library of America] edition, two hundred bright points of light whose constellation is an image of scientific effort, scientific outreach, science-backed advocacy.” —Daegan Miller, Bookforum
“Silent Spring remains five decades after publication, an impressive piece of work—and a deserving candidate for the Library of America series. . . . To read [it] now is in part to understand how we got to where we are.” — Charles C. Mann, The Wall Street Journal