Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, Houghton Mifflin, 1962, 262 pp
Summary from Goodreads: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.
For much of my adult life, I have pondered the relationship between commerce and art. This book caused me to ponder the intersection of commerce and science.
I revere scientists who study life here on earth and increase our understanding of the physical properties of life and the universe. I understand that someone has to turn all that into systems and products that make the knowledge available to the rest of us. I abhor the impulses of greed that end up turning the knowledge into destruction. Silent Spring is another important book that shows us how that happened in the 1940s and 1950s.
This was a tough read. Not because of the writing because Rachel Carson was one of the best science writers ever. She made biology and ecology comprehensible to regular people. No, it was emotionally tough, reading about all the destruction done to the natural world through the use of poisonous pesticides and herbicides.
If you want to know about and understand how interconnected the natural world is, read this book. Just take it a chapter a day. That is how I made it through.
She also has some amazing insights about cancer and how these poisons plus atomic radiation have played their parts in the proliferation of that disease. I have nothing against cancer research but I couldn't help thinking that more than a cure for cancer, we need a cure for our planet.
Couldn't some of our bright young people figure out how to make healing the earth profitable? Actually I think many of them are working on it.
(Silent Spring is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)