Rachel Carson was one of the reasons why I became so conscious of the environment and so involved with environmental issues. . . . Her picture hangs on my office wall among those of political leaders, presidents, and prime ministers. It has been there for yearsùand it belongs there. Carson has had as much or more an effect on me than any of them, and perhaps all of them together. (Al Gore)
About the Author
Rachel L. Carson
(1907–64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. However, while at Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College), she changed her major from literature to biology, graduating in 1929 at a time when there were few women in science. She completed an M. A. in marine zoology at Johns Hopkins University, taught at the University of Maryland, and published articles on natural history in the Baltimore Sun. From 1937 to 1952 she was an aquatic biologist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, resigning from her position of editor-in-chief to devote herself to writing.
Carson’ s unique combination of lyrical prose and accurate science earned her international literary acclaim with the publication of The Sea Around Us in 1951. She was awarded the National Book Award for Non-Fiction, the John Burroughs Medal, the Gold Medal of the New York Zoological Society and the Audubon Society Medal. Carson was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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
. An ardent ecologist and preservationist, Carson warned against the dumping of atomic waste at sea and predicted global warming. Rachel Carson died of cancer at the age of 56.Linda Lear
has always been intrigued by how the lives of artists and writers have been influenced by the natural world. She discovered quite by accident that before Beatrix Potter began her legendary series of 'little books' for children she had been an avid student of natural history. A professor of environmental history and author of the prize-winning biography Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
, Lear is an enthusiastic horticulturalist and collector of botanical art. She and her husband live in Bethesda, Maryland. Linda Lear's latest title, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
is published by Penguin.