Top critical review
Not what the title suggests
on 29 July 2014
The title of this book, pegged to the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson's `Silent Spring' (published in 1962), is somewhat misleading. Whereas Carson's original was a ground-breaking and very influential critique of the rapid increase in the use of pesticides in the US, a development that appeared to be killing millions of birds and other wildlife, this book reads much more like a recent history of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), complete with the author's observations on life in Britain over the last half-century, and in particular lots of anecdotes based on his obvious love of birds.
Nothing wrong with any of that, perhaps, and the book is well written for the most part and a pleasant enough read, but it is of limited appeal and really has little in common with Silent Spring, other than the environmental message. If the title had been more along the lines of, say, `A recent history of nature conservation in the UK', then the reader would have a better understanding of what to expect (though it probably wouldn't sell so many books!)