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Silent Spring (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Rachel Carson , Shackleton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Sep 2000 Penguin Modern Classics

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Lord Shackleton, a preface by World Wildlife Fund founder Julian Huxley, and an afterword by Carson's biographer Linda Lear.

Now recognized as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, Silent Spring exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, Rachel Carson succeeded in creating a new public awareness of the environment which led to changes in government and inspired the ecological movement. It is thanks to this book, and the help of many environmentalists, that harmful pesticides such as DDT were banned from use in the US and countries around the world.

Rachel Carson (1907-64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. Her first book, Under the Sea Wind, appeared in 1941. Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the dangers of the misuse of pesticides, was published in 1962. Carson's articles on natural history appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Holiday. An ardent ecologist and preservationist, Carson warned against the dumping of atomic waste at sea and predicted global warming.

If you enjoyed Silent Spring, you might like John Christopher's The Death of Grass, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Carson's books brought ecology into popular consciousness'

Daily Telegraph

'Very few books change the course of history. Those that do include Silent Spring'

Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (28 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141184949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141184944
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Carson's books brought ecology into popular consciousness (Daily Telegraph)

If anybody asked me to write about my hero, it would be Rachel Carson (A. S. Byatt)

Rachel Carson educated a planet... One of the most effective books ever written (Guardian)

Carson's book has changed the world (The Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Now recognised as one of the most influential books of the Twentieth Century, Silent Spring exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, Rachel Carson succeeded in creating a new public awareness of the environment which led to changes in government policy and inspired the modern ecological movement.

'Very few books change the course of history. Those that have include ... Silent Spring.' Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has anything changed? 2 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read the original version of this book published in 1962, and I believe this book should be compulsory reading not only for every person who says that s/he cares for the environment, but also for those that say they don't care. Maybe it'll make them care. The book is a strong indictment against the chemical industry and the havoc that their products create in every part of the world (including our cosy homes), about the dangers of more and more insects and pests becoming resistent to chemicals and a strong call to look for alternatives that do not damage all our lives (animal, plant and human). But when I read the newspapers, not much appears to have changed in almost 40 years: many of us (especially politicians) still live in the back pockets of the chemical industry! After all, money and jobs are more important than saving what is left, isn't it?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 21 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
"The sedge is wither'd from the lake, and no bird sings." So begins this book with an eerie quote from Keats. Imagine a world without birdsong, with decreased biodiversity and increasingly threatened species, on account of human ignorance and technological pollution. Rachel Carson tells it like it is in Silent Spring, credited by many as the book which ignited the environmental revolution in the 60's. "What we have to face is not an occasional dose of poison which has accidentally got into some article of food, but a persistent and continuous poisoning of the whole human environment". Written in 1962, this book is more relevant today than ever, and based on science that still holds good. It will basically scare the hell out of you- you may never reach for an innocent looking can of fly spray or some other household chemical again. The science of Clinical Ecology wasn't around when Rachel Carson wrote this book, and I credit her with founding a whole science based on her tireless work of advocacy for the cause against the agrochemical and pharmaceutical machine. Due to family circumstances and her humanity in caring for her sick and elderly parents, and then her own breast cancer, she was unable to undertake doctoral work. I believe she is a worthy candidate for a posthumous award- a shining light in the science world who deserves far more credit for her work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly relevant 14 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When reading this book, you cannot help but be filled with an innate sense of sadness, in part due to the horrific tales which Carson tells (all of which are a necessity in order for the book to hit home) and in part due to the fact that many of these tales still seem relevant today and most of the others, with a little modification, can be applied to much of the environmental damage our species is causing today.
A highly relevant book, which is very touching, Carsons poetic writing style lends itself to a very easy read, this coupled with solid information and hard-hitting examples of the damage done make this book an absolute must read for everyone. I firmly believe that every politician & world leader should be made to read this book and remind them of the dangers and consequences their actions have on the environment and perhaps make them think that little bit deeper about the consequences of deforestation, of removing native untouched habitat and of course of the use of harsh & unnatural chemicals in day to day life.
I cannot recommend this book enough, it does make you look at things differently and that is ultimately one of the most important things.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book they tried to dismiss 2 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
In "Any Questions" on BBC Radio 4 a panel of politicians were quizzed in turn as to one person they thought would be regarded as an important person in the future from the 20th century who improved the lot of us humans. Of about four panelists one said Nelson Mandela. Important though Mandela is, none of the other panelists had anyone else to suggest so they also ended up saying Nelson Mandela. I would have mentioned Rachel Carson representing as yet an unsung heroine - the pioneer of the "Deep Ecology" movement.

Unfortunately a lot of what she had to say is still ignored by mainstream politicians though enough has trickled through to create a stream of people who think in the context of concern for all life on Earth rather than how best one group of us can dominate and manipulate our human and environmental resources at irreplaceable cost to life as we know it.

This is the book that started it all - showing us that science and technology unrestrained were not the solution to all our problems. The EPA at least owes its very existence to Carson.

I salute Carson and her book as a lighthouse that guided our thinking from the cliffs of short sighted destructiveness. Long may the beacon prevail.

This is an important book. Perhaps dated, Carson's voice is not shrill but reasoned and strident. A classic worth sharing and upgrading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing has changed in 50 years 11 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback
Silent Spring (Penguin Modern Classics) I heard about this book several years ago and was surprised to find it still in print but not once I had read it. It relates just how stupid and greedy people are - we do not deserve this planet. We pump it full of poisons and then wonder why things die. I was watching a programme about our dissappearing bees on the TV recently and Carson's words came flooding out of the screen; over 200 toxins found in a bee's body, each individaully 'tested' for 'safety' but not in combination. Is it little wonder that they are dying out? What happens next? few people seem to realise that without bees we will have no crops, without crops we have no farm animals, without crops and farm animals WE have no food - alarmist maybe...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant! What foresight and so stunningly beautifully written. A real visionary.
Published 9 days ago by Willow
5.0 out of 5 stars What sorry sight the world is now in a pity ...
What sorry sight the world is now in a pity the population of the world doesn't realise or seem to care they are destroying the planet, this book should be made for all to read. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Joan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent crucially important seminal book. Must be read by everyone.
Published 1 month ago by Anthony Zych
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Revolutionary in its day and still rings bells now.
Published 2 months ago by Plain Jane
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, an eye-opener of man against nature.
Classic of course but interesting stuff. Packed with accounts of environmental disasters of '60's. A good starting point for everyone interested in environmental/ agricultural/... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Wendy Woo
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of its time, but still worth heeding
I read this as a follow-up to James Lovelock’s Gaia since, in these two works, we have two of the most influential books on the modern environmental movement. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S. Meadows
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening...
...if a little depressing! So very interesting though. She was a visionary and unfortunately some of her grim predictions seem to be coming to reality. A must read for all.
Published 3 months ago by ValerieV
1.0 out of 5 stars Shoddy science that helped launch eco-activism and thereby cause...
The dust has long settled on this book, and its many shortcomings have been established. The success of it when published surely drew many politically-ambitious and ruthless... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Occasional Thinker
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book which should be read by anyone at all concerned about...
I first read this in 1965 when it made a considerable impact. Now however it is mostly forgotten by new generations of readers. I am re reading it & the impact is now anger. Read more
Published 8 months ago by ImaginaryZoo
5.0 out of 5 stars really good
really good great read really good great read really good great read really good great read really good great read the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy telephone
Published 10 months ago by andibee
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