Books About Rachel Carson
This list is not inclusive, but represents the most recent scholarship about Rachel Carson. Your local bookstore, public library, college library, or on-line bookstore will probably have these titles. All are in print and all offer paperback editions. Contact us for to have your work added to the list.
Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
Author: Linda Lear
Paperback: 688 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)
Originally Published: 1997
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1962, did more than any other single publication to alert the world to the hazards of environmental poisoning and to inspire a powerful social movement that would alter the course of American history. This definitive, sweeping biography shows the origins of Carson's fierce dedication to natural science -- and tells the dramatic story of how Carson, already a famous nature writer, became a brilliant if reluctant reformer. Drawing on unprecendented access to sources and interviews, Lear masterfully explores the roots of Carson's powerful connection to the natural world, crafting a " fine portrait of the environmentalist as a human being" (Smithsonian).
Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964
Author: Rachel Carson & Dorothy Freeman
Series: Concord Library
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press; First Edition (February 28, 1994)
Originally Published: 1994
Rachel Carson (1907-1964), author of The Silent Spring, has been celebrated as the pioneer of the modern environmental movement. Although she wrote no autobiography, she did leave letters, and those she exchanged, sometimes daily, with Dorothy Freeman. The 750 letters collected here are perhaps more satisfying than an account of her own life would have been. In 1953, Carson became Freeman's summer neighbor on Southport Island, Maine. The two discovered a shared love for the natural world. Their descriptions of the arrival of spring or the song of a hermit thrush are lyrical and their friendship quickly blossomed, as each realized she had found in the other a kindred spirit. To read this collection is like eavesdropping on an extended conversation that mixes the mundane events of the two women's family lives with details of Carson's research and writing and, later, her breast cancer. Readers will inevitably wonder about the nature of the women's relationship; editor Martha Freeman, Dorothy's granddaughter, believes that the correspondents' initial caution regarding the frankly romantic tone of their letters led them to destroy some. Whether the relationship was sexual, theirs was a deeply loving friendship, and reading their letters leaves a sense of wonder that they felt so free to give themselves this gift. "Never forget, dear one, how deeply I have loved you all these years," Carson wrote less than a year before her death. And if, as Carson believed, "immortality through memory is real," few who read these letters will forget these remarkable women and their even more remarkable bond. Photos. 25,000 first printing. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Night Walk to the Sea: A Story About Rachel Carson, Earth's Protector
Author: Deborah Wiles
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; Illustrated edition
Originally Published: September 15, 2020
This luminous picture book by an award-winning author and acclaimed illustrator is the perfect tool to discuss the importance of the natural world with young children, as well as introduce them to environmental activist Rachel Carson.
Rachel Carson: The Writer at Work
Author: Paul Brooks
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Sierra Club Books for Children (October 1998)
Originally Published: October 1, 1998
Rachel Carson is the most important environmentalist of the 20th century. Her Silent Spring, published in 1962, changed the course of history. Here is an intimate portrait of this remarkable writer, who taught us the meaning of ecology. Drawing from her writings, the recollections of her closest friends, and his own long association with her, Brooks has created a unique profile that shows how Carson was able to merge two seemingly divergent passions -- for literature and science -- to write some of the most important books of our time: not only Silent Spring, but The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, and A Sense of Wonder. A unique portrait, including excerpts from Carsons published and unpublished writings, and reminiscences from friends and colleagues.
The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement
(New Narratives in American History)
Author: Mark H. Lytle
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 31, 2007)
Originally Published: 2007
Lytle explores the evolution of Carson's ideas about nature, her love for the sea, her career as a biologist, and above all her emergence as a writer of extraordinary moral and ecological vision. We follow Carson from her childhood on a farm outside Pittsburgh, where she first developed her love of nature (and where, at age eleven, she published her first piece in a children's magazine), to her graduate work at Johns Hopkins and her career with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Lytle describes the genesis of her first book, Under the Sea-Wind, the incredible success of The Sea Around Us (a New York Times bestseller for over a year), and her determination to risk her fame in order to write her "poison book": Silent Spring. The author contends that despite Carson's demure, lady-like demeanor, she was subversive in her thinking and aggressive in her campaign against pesticides. Carson became the spokeswoman for a network of conservationists, scientists, women, and other concerned citizens who had come to fear the mounting dangers of the human assault on nature. What makes this story particularly compelling is that Carson took up this cause at the very moment when she herself faced a losing battle with cancer.
Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson
Author: Peter Matthiessen (Editor)
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books (April 22, 2007)
Originally Published: 2007
For environmentally critical times, Courage for the Earth is a centennial appreciation of Rachel Carson's brave life and transformative writing
Carson’s lyrical, popular books about the sea, including her best-selling The Sea Around Us, set a standard for nature writing. By the late 1950s, Carson was the most respected science writer in America.
She completed Silent Spring (1962) against formidable personal odds, and with it shaped a social movement that altered the course of history. In Silent Spring, Carson asserted that "the right of the citizen to be secure in his own home against the intrusion of poisons applied by other persons" must surely be a basic human right. She was the first to challenge the moral vacuity of a government that refused to take responsibility for or to acknowledge evidence of environmental damage.
In this volume, today’s foremost scientists and writers give compelling evidence that Carson’s transformative insights -- her courage for the earth -- are giving a new generation of activists the inspiration they need to move consumers, industry, and government to action.
Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge (S U N Y Series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics)
Author: Lisa Sideris
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: State University of New York Press (May 8, 2008)
Originally Published: 2008
Long before Rachel Carson would become synonymous with environmental activism, she was a nature and science writer, penning The Sense of Wonder for children, and three books about the ocean and its inhabitants—including the bestselling The Sea Around Us. Based solidly on science and written in beautiful prose, Carson’s work issued a practical and moral challenge to her readers: Can we find a way to live on earth with care and respect? In Rachel Carson, the first book to offer a sustained treatment of her work prior to Silent Spring, editors Lisa H. Sideris and Kathleen Dean Moore bring together seventeen writers, activists, and scholars from a range of disciplines to uncover the many sides of Rachel Carson. Emphasizing her enthusiasm for the natural world and the depth of her writings, the contributors examine her books, speeches, essays, and the letters she wrote as she prepared to die. A testament to Carson’s continued influence on environmental thought, this volume is for everyone who cares about finding ways to live sustainably on earth.
DDT, Silent Spring, and the Rise of Environmentalism: Classic Texts
Author: Thomas R Dunlap
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: University of Washington Press (August 20, 2008)
Originally Published: January 1, 2008
No single event played a greater role in the birth of modern environmentalism than the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and its assault on insecticides. The documents collected by Thomas Dunlap trace shifting attitudes toward DDT and pesticides in general through a variety of sources: excerpts from scientific studies and government reports, advertisements from industry journals, articles from popular magazines, and the famous "Fable for Tomorrow" from Silent Spring.
Beginning with attitudes toward nature at the turn of the twentieth century, the book moves through the use and early regulation of pesticides; the introduction and early success of DDT; the discovery of its environmental effects; and the uproar over Silent Spring. It ends with recent debates about DDT as a potential solution to malaria in Africa.
Understanding Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (Words That Changed the World)
Author: Alex Macgillivray
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Rosen Publishing Group (August 15, 2010)
Originally Published: 2010
With our "green revolution" gearing up on all fronts, there couldn't be a timelier book than Understanding Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Written at a time when science writing and literature didn't mesh and when people didn't care or think about the environment, pollutants, or preserving natural resources, Silent Spring not only exposed the dangers of pesticides but became one of the most influential manifestos on environmental issues. This book explores Silent Spring's historical context and its influence on and repercussions for the world.
How 'Silent Spring' Ignited the Environmental Movement
[Excerpt] On June 4, 1963, less than a year after the controversial environmental classic Silent Spring was published, its author, Rachel Carson, testified before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides. She was 56 and dying of breast cancer. She told almost no one. She’d already survived a radical mastectomy. Her pelvis was so riddled with fractures that it was nearly impossible for her to walk to her seat at the wooden table before the Congressional panel. To hide her baldness, she wore a dark brown wig.
"Every once in a while in the history of mankind, a book has appeared which has substantially altered the course of history," Senator Ernest Gruening, a Democrat from Alaska, told Carson at the time.
Silent Spring Revisited
Author: Conor Jameson
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: A&C Black; Reprint edition (June 6, 2013)
Originally Published: January 1, 2012
American scientist and author Rachel Carson is said to have sparked the modern day environmental movement with the publication of Silent Spring in 1962. She made vivid the prospect of life without birdsong. But has her warning been heeded?
Fifty years later, Conor Mark Jameson reflects on the growth of environmentalism since Silent Spring was published. His revealing and engaging tale plots milestone events in conservation, popular culture and political history in the British Isles and beyond, tracing a path through the half century since 'zero hour' 1962.
Around this he weaves his own observations and touching personal experiences, seeking to answer the question: what happened to the birds, and birdsong, and why does it matter?
On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, Author of Silent Spring
Author: William Souder
Paperback: 520 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (September 3, 2013)
Originally Published: 2012
Rachel Carson loved the ocean and wrote three books about its mysteries. But it was with her fourth book, Silent Spring, that this unassuming biologist transformed our relationship with the natural world. Silent Spring was a chilling indictment of DDT and other pesticides that until then had been hailed as safe and wondrously effective. It was Carson who sifted through all the evidence, documenting with alarming clarity the collateral damage to fish, birds, and other wildlife; revealing the effects of these new chemicals to be lasting, widespread, and lethal. Silent Spring shocked the public and forced the government to take action, despite a withering attack on Carson from the chemicals industry. It awakened the world to the heedless contamination of the environment and eventually led to the establishment of the EPA and to the banning of DDT. By drawing frightening parallels between dangerous chemicals and the then-pervasive fallout from nuclear testing, Carson opened a fault line between the gentle ideal of conservation and the more urgent new concept of environmentalism.
Elegantly written and meticulously researched, On a Farther Shore reveals a shy yet passionate woman more at home in the natural world than in the literary one that embraced her. William Souder also writes sensitively of Carson's romantic friendship with Dorothy Freeman, and of Carson's death from cancer in 1964. This extraordinary new biography captures the essence of one of the great reformers of the twentieth century.
Carson's Silent Spring: A Reader's Guide
Author: Joni Seager
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 23, 2014)
Originally Published: August 28, 2014
Silent Spring is a watershed moment in the history of environmentalism, credited with launching the modern environmental movement. In synthesizing a jumble of scientific and medical information into a coherent argument, Carson successfully challenged major chemical industries and the idea that modern societies could and should exert mastery over nature at any cost. Her critique remains salient today.
This book provides the first in-depth analysis, contextualisation and overview of Silent Spring, a critical work in the history of environmentalism, surveying its lasting impact on the environmentalist movement in the last fifty years.
Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America's Environment
Author: Robert K Musil
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Rutgers University Press; First Paperback Edition edition (September 15, 2015)
Originally Published: 2014
In Rachel Carson and Her Sisters, Robert K. Musil redefines the achievements and legacy of environmental pioneer and scientist Rachel Carson, linking her work to a wide network of American women activists and writers and introducing her to a new, contemporary audience. Rachel Carson was the first American to combine two longstanding but separate strands of American environmentalism—the love of nature and a concern for human health. Widely known for her 1962 best-seller, Silent Spring, Carson is often perceived today as a solitary "great woman" whose work single-handedly launched a modern environmental movement. But as Musil demonstrates, Carson’s life’s work drew upon and was supported by already existing movements, many led by women, in conservation and public health.
On the fiftieth anniversary of her death, this book helps underscore Carson’s enduring environmental legacy and brings to life the achievements of women writers and advocates, such as Ellen Swallow Richards, Dr. Alice Hamilton, Terry Tempest Williams, Sandra Steingraber, Devra Davis, andTheo Colborn, all of whom overcame obstacles to build and lead the modern American environmental movement.