Silent Spring

Silent Spring, Rachel CarsonOutline: eye opening and revolutionary. Inspiring.

First Edition published in 1962.

Silent Spring

By Rachel Carson


In Silent Spring, one of her many best sellers, Rachel Carson describes the dangers of the indiscriminate use of powerful pesticides and herbicides—such as the the potential loss of the songs of the spring birds (therefore, the book’s title: Silent Spring)—and their threat to wildlife and humans. “We allow the chemical death rain to fall as though there were no alternative whereas in fact there are many, and our ingenuity could soon discover many more if given opportunity” (Carson, Silent Spring, Chapter 2). By addressing the impact and consequences of these harmful substances, the revolutionary book made a dramatic impact in society, generating public awareness and leading to the creation of laws to protect our air, land, and water.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), also author of the best sellers Under the Sea-WindThe Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea, was an American marine biologist, editor, and conservationist whose scientific research and writings on pesticides led to the nationwide ban of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) in1972, eight years after her death. In an era of sexism, when the roles that women were expected to fill were those of a caring mother and a proficient housewife, Rachel became one of the most respected science writer of her country. Nevertheless, she couldn’t foresee the magnitude of her efforts to help in protecting the environment.

The beauty of the living world I was trying to save has always been uppermost in my mind-that, and anger at the senseless, brutish things that were being done… Now I can believe I have at least helped a little.

(Rachel Carson confessed to a  friend, 1964)

Silent Spring, Elixirs of Death