Image used with permission from rachelcarson.org
REVIEW: ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson leaves lasting impact after 60 years
In her award winning book “Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson writes, “Most of us walk unseeing through the world, unaware alike of its beauties, its wonders and the strange and sometimes terrible intensity of the lives that are being lived about us.” After reading the story, I agree with Carson as her book opened my eyes to a shocking reality of the world we live in and how we treat it.
Over 17 chapters, Carson depicts a world destroyed by agricultural chemicals and what she likes to call “elixirs of death.” She touches primarily on pesticide use and how these chemicals which we diffuse are detrimental to nature, animals and even us humans.
Carson concludes with a powerful and valid claim that by poisoning nature, we are poisoning humankind as these chemicals travel through the food chain, making their way through us and harming anything in between.
A book with this much impact is rare to come across, and exceeded my expectations.”
After being published in 1962, “Silent Spring” is regarded as one of the most impactful environmental science books ever written. Although Carson passed away in 1964, she is still known for her tremendous efforts in environmentalism.
The book fused an environmental movement, so much so, its contents aided in the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulated the use of pesticides in 1970 and even the subsequent prohibition of DDT, a highly toxic pesticide. A book with this much impact is rare to come across, and exceeded my expectations.
Carson’s book gave me the satisfaction of understanding the meaning behind her famous saying, “Man’s war against nature,” which is constantly used when discussing the impact of climate change. As the human race continues to advance and evolve, it may seem like we dominate society; but, that doesn’t make us above nature, as we are still very much a part of it.
Despite not being an avid reader of environmental books, I thoroughly enjoyed the contents of “Silent Spring” and Carson’s writing style. Although she studied as a marine biologist, Carson has incredible writing skills that enhanced the book. She mainly lets the information speak for itself, but her inclusion of descriptive and emotional writing makes this book not only about plain facts, but about sincerity and meaning from one person to another.
For someone so passionate about the environment, while also supplying devastating facts about human contributions to environmental issues, Carson remains serene. She manages her rage and inclinations in a way that favors her argument, allowing readers to develop an emotional response on their own. Her intentions are not to persuade or seem extreme, but to just let the truth serve its influence.
You may think the book is outdated, given that 60 years have passed since its publication, but I can assure you its message is still relevant. In fact, its longevity is exactly what I find to be so impactful about this book. Carson does an excellent job at emphasizing just how much humans, and our actions, have an effect on the natural world.
Like me, you may usually turn away from ecological books. However, I would recommend “Silent Spring” to anyone. It is not simply a book about the environment, but a reflection on humanity and the everlasting environmental problem we must all face. It’s written by a powerful and approachable voice, making it a book I believe everyone should read once in their lifetime.
In Carson’s words: