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Silent Spring Paperback – 23 Oct 2003


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Paperback, 23 Oct 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); 40th edition (23 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618249060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618249060
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 686,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Sep 2000
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Patterson on 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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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sarakani on 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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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
One can only applaud Carson's work and marvel at her determination to be heard and the research she did. This must have been a very shocking book at the time it was published, even now it is horrifying to look back and see what wholesale garbage the American public was being sold by those supposed to be looking after their health and welfare. It is however, a dated book which I found hard to read and difficult to sustain. I believe it was first written as a series of articles for journals and magazines, which makes sense, as each chapter is very much isolated from the others in terms of style and content, so there is little sense of flow or continuity, other than the continuation of the bad news Carson imparts. It tends to jerk from quite florid poetic writing with lyrically drawn pictures of nature which give way to horrific apocalyptic style visions into bunches of data and facts which are so dry they sit hard up against the narrative and make for difficult reading. It's still a book to recommend, particularly in today's climate and with the emphasis on green issues, but you really have to want to read it rather than just having an idle interest.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. Lomas on 6 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
Reading some of the reviews here I can't help but feel they are reading 'Silent Spring' out of context. Being written in 1962 in will never be a current and up to date account of our pesticide use today. However I recommend it as a pioneering piece of literature, and a period piece that will stand the test of time.

Now that our bookshelves are stacked with Ecological titles, it is all the more important to re-read 'Silent Spring' and to judge for ourselves a book that actually did make a difference. For instance, this book greatly influenced my parents into becoming founder members of 'Friends of the Earth'.

What stands is an inspirational and at times poetic cry for ecological common sense. What has aged and dated stands to keep our contemporary rhetoric in check. Rachel Carson has a searching and inquisitive mind. Let this book be the document that she would want it to be - A step towards understanding our continued place in the world.
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