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Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (September 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937184994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937184995
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roger E. Meiners is chairman of the department of economics at the University of Texas at Arlington and a senior fellow at the Property & Environment Research Center, Bozeman, MT. Pierre Desrochers is associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto and senior research fellow at the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University. Andrew P. Morriss is professor of law and business at the University of Alabama and a senior fellow at the Property & Environment Research Center, Bozeman, MT.


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75 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Cernunnos on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It's useful to realize that this book is published by the Cato Institute, whose founders include the politically active Koch brothers who run Koch Industries. Koch Industries would have to pay estimated billions if We the People charged for dumping carbon emissions in the atmosphere, or more closely regulated chemical emissions. As is, they lobby tirelessly to continue the free usage of the public commons such as air and water, and to deny or obfuscate issues about climate change, chemical releases, etc.

The premise of this book is off, as it disputes Rachel Carson's precautionary warnings to more rigorously test the health and environmental impacts of synthetic chemicals before they are widely distributed into the environment. The fact is, only a handful (five) of 80,000 synthetic industrial chemicals in use have been banned, and not very many of them have been rigorously tested, as the ex-administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, stated. Recent studies have shown that new babies may already have up to 300 synthetic chemicals in their bodies at birth.

As Naomi Oreskes states in her excellent book "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming," Rachel Carson is an "American hero" for her work in alerting the public to the harms of indiscriminate chemical dumping. Oreskes also points out that there has been a concerted effort by corporate libertarians to confuse the science around issues that may lead to regulation. Oreskes writes, "In the demonizing of Rachel Carson, free marketeers realized that if you could convince people that an example of successful government regulation wasn't, in fact, successful--that is was actually a mistake--you could strengthen the argument against regulation in general.
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38 of 52 people found the following review helpful By E. Jaksetic on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The publication of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring in 1962 was a landmark event in American environmentalism. This book of twelve essays takes a retrospective look at that iconic book from a variety of perspectives. Such a retrospective look is needed because: (1) the science of ecology, the environment, pesticides, and cancer did not become final or settled forever with the publication of Silent Spring; and (2) the passage of time since the publication of Silent Spring allows for an assessment of the economic and political consequences of the adoption of policies and practices espoused by Rachel Carson. Because science is not static in nature and is subject to reevaluation and revision in light of subsequent scientific research, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring cannot be considered the final, definitive word about any of the topics it discussed. And, in a representative democracy, political and policy decisions are not immune from periodic review and assessment to determine whether they should be continued, revised, or superseded by new decisions in light of new knowledge and practical experience.

Written by a variety of authors, the essays in this book reflect different writing styles and different perspectives.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By dax on January 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
have not as yet read the work (rachel's), although it was introduced to me as on of the ecologic classics, such as a sand county almanac, as well as the works of mr. krutch, and the classic pieces of thoreau (not scientific, but logically and spiritually relevant and great, even so). however, as a former biology major (and a devoted reader of ed. wilson, of harvard), the systematic denial and falsifications of science that are occurring in the politics and media of this country have become obvious; with respect to climate change, genetics, and even in medicine. it has been asserted that the publishers of this book are linked with heavy industry here, and a trivializing piece such as this signifies to me that that barrage of propaganda is simply widening. at this point, i accord it no credibility whatever.
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16 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David Currie on October 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
By not only shedding light on the scientific inaccuracies but also the political context of Silent Spring, the collected authors create an understanding of the way of thinking that underlies much of environmental policy today.

If you take your convictions for environmentalism seriously, or simply want to understand the methodology that undermines some current regulations, I strongly encourage you to read this book. And read it critically, just as you should critically read the work of Silent Spring.

As one of my favorite professors, Dr. Donald Boudreaux, has said many times, "Intentions are not results."
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13 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ashenden on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rachel Carson is credited with producing a work of science, but this book suggests otherwise. It proposes that Carson neglected or ignored many relevant scientific issues in order to promote a romantic and quasi-religious view of the natural world with little basis in reality.

It's worth reading the book for this idea alone, but also for the many surprises within its pages, for example, that DDT used for malaria control was successful because it was a powerful insect repellent when sprayed on the walls of dwellings, and not as an insecticide: and that DDT was not a new chemical, having first been synthesized in 1874.
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