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Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature Paperback – September 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805034285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805034288
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,659,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Environmental historian Linda Lear does justice to the tragic dimensions of Rachel Carson's life in her prologue, which shows the author of Silent Spring, even as she was dying of cancer, testifying calmly before a congressional subcommittee whose investigation of the dangers of pesticides were prompted by her book. Lear portrays Carson (1907-1964) with affection and discernment as a remarkable woman who overcame prejudice against female scientists and aroused post-World War II America to the beauties of nature and the technological threats against it in a series of deservedly popular books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

From childhood days, Carson loved nature while showing enormous promise as an author. In college, she began as an English major before switching to biology, and in her federal government job, she used her scientific training to write many publications. In 1951, Carson published her first best seller, The Sea Around Us. Ten years later, while fighting a losing battle with breast cancer, she published Silent Spring, which generated enormous controversy. Environmental historian Lear presents a mostly affectionate and satisfying portrait of Carson. An afterword with information on what happened to Carson's ward, Roger; her close friend Dorothy Freeman; and others would have been appreciated. Lear also fails to explore fully the contradictions in Carson's life, such as her willingness to abide familial manipulations while letting nothing stand in her way when working on a project. Nevertheless, this is an excellent treatment of a founder of modern environmentalism. Recommended.
-?Randy Dykhuis, Michigan Lib. Consortium, Lansing
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Linda Lear is an environmental historian and the author of two prize-winning biographies: Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature (2009) and Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (2007). She has written the introduction to the 50th anniversary edition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (2012) and edited an anthology of Carson's unpublished writing, Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (1998). She maintains www.rachelcarson.org. Linda lives in Bethesda, Maryland and Charleston, South Carolina.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Seachranaiche on May 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
How many people today remember Rachel Carson? When you see an eagle or a falcon or a hawk, you can than k Rachel Carson. Her book "Silent Spring" incited action almost immediately against irresponsible pesticide use, including DDT, and launched an ecology movement that led to the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. This is quite an accomplishment for an author of natural history books; Rachel Carson must have been larger than life, practically immortal, in order to have pulled this off.

But...as Linda Lear documents in extraordinary detail, Rachel Carson was entirely mortal, and all too human, and was not lacking in the faults most of us possess. Success came to Carson late (almost too late), but Carson's love of nature and her dogged determination allowed her to complete what is, perhaps, the most important book of the 20th Century before she succumbed to breast cancer. Lear's detail is incredibly deep; over and again she recounts instances from Carson's life that seem trivial and mundane until the reader feels bogged down in the excess of it. But this detail is critical, because Carson's life itself seemed mundane and trivial, that is until the last decade of it. Carson was a regular person-she was no superstar-and Lear's depth of detail is necessary in order to explain Carson's journey from a less-than-middle-class upbringing to government functionary to the preeminent nature writer of her time. Carson's life evolves slowly and ends tragically; she never married and she never had children-it is almost as if she was born to deliver "Silent Spring" at exactly the right moment in history, when it was needed the most, and then pass on.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lear's detailed biography offers an unmatched look at Carson's personal and professional life. This book takes the reader behind the scenes of Rachel Carson's brilliant works in order to demonstrate the difficulties that dogged her every day existance. Lear chronicles Carson's personal perservance and dedication to the environmental cause in an immensely readable format. A wonderful and inspiring book to read!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
The first reviewer, Shari Just, has captured perfectly the quality, scope and value of Lear's biography. If you have ever wondered "can one person make a difference" this is the proof. A readable blend of history, place, people and events describing a modest scientist that loved to communicate scientific findings to a wider audience.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pete W. Letheby on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
An absolutely fabulous book on an environmental pioneer, "Witness for Nature" offers up three very important reminders: (1) We must never forget the prophetic contribution of Rachel Carson; (2) we must carry on her bold and visionary mission, never backing down from, as the book described them, the "powerful adversaries" of the chemical industry, corporate agriculture and others that seek to impose their technological will on the rest of us; and (3) we must treasure every day we have left and take the time to cherish our gifts in the natural world. I only wish Rachel Carson had lived to be 100 so she could have carried on her ecological vision for many more decades.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the past few years, I tend to hear Rachel Carson's name mentioned in one of two contexts: the person who saved us from a pesticide-related catastrophe, or the person who doomed millions to die of starvation or malaria because of the bans on pesticides.

Neither story is true.

Linda Lear's biography of Carson is the most detailed accounting of Rachel Caron's complicated life I have ever read. I now want to develop a college course around Carson based on Lear's book. I've now picked up Carson's earlier books on the ocean because of the passions I learned in Lear's biography of Carson. I feel the spirit moving within me to be as committed to the environment as Carson, even though I could only be a fraction as influential. You want to know why?

Read the book...
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