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Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964 - The Story of a Remarkable Friendship (Concord Library) Paperback – May 31, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dorothy Freeman, a fan of environmental writer Rachel Carson, was also her best friend. The correspondence between them charts the growth of their long affection; it also offers much detail about Carson's concerns as a writer and scientific reporter, to say nothing of her misgivings about being anointed as one of the environmental movement's chief intellectual leaders. The letters are full of talk about birds, books, and the changing seasons. Fans of Carson--and of the forgotten art of correspondence--are sure to enjoy Always, Rachel.

From Publishers Weekly

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), author of The Silent Spring, has been celebrated as the pioneer of the modern environmental movement. Although she wrote no autobiography, she did leave letters, and those she exchanged?sometimes daily?with Dorothy Freeman, some 750 of which are collected here, are perhaps more satisfying than an account of her own life. In 1953, Carson became Freeman's summer neighbor on Southport Island, Me. The two discovered a shared love for the natural world?their descriptions of the arrival of spring or the song of a hermit thrush are lyrical?but their friendship quickly blossomed, as each realized she had found in the other a kindred spirit. To read this collection is like eavesdropping on an extended conversation that mixes the mundane events of the two women's family lives with details of Carson's research and writing and, later, her breast cancer. Readers will inevitably wonder about the nature of the women's relationship; editor Martha Freeman, Dorothy's granddaughter, believes that the correspondents' initial caution regarding the frankly romantic tone of their letters led them to destroy some. Whether the relationship was sexual, theirs was a deeply loving friendship, and reading their letters leaves a sense of wonder that they felt so free to give themselves this gift. "Never forget, dear one, how deeply I have loved you all these years," Carson wrote less than a year before her death. And if, as Carson believed, "immortality through memory is real," few who read these letters will forget these remarkable women and their even more remarkable bond. Photos. 25,000 first printing.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Concord Library
  • Paperback: 567 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (May 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807070114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807070116
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You don't have to have read any of Rachel Carson's books in order to fully appreciate the letters she wrote to her best friend. These letters (nearly 3/4 written by Rachel) show the love and intensity of her friendship with Dorothy Freeman; they offer a glimpse of what life was like in the 1950s and 1960s - particularly the world of publishing and environmentalism; they show her fear and courage during her fight with breast cancer. She doesn't go into much detail about the writing process she went through with "Silent Spring," but it's clear that the fact that she wrote it and published it at all is something close to a miracle. Her fight against breast cancer would be an inspiration to anyone. Even with everything that goes on within these letters, what is paramount is her love for Dorothy. Few of Dorothy's letters were saved, but the few that were included in the book show why she and Rachel were such good friends. These letters bring to life many emotions: fear, grief, euphoria, anticipation, dread, anger, confusion, apprehension, appreciation and love.

This book is a narrative of what friendship should be.

Also, the footnotes are absolutely wonderful! Instead of being at the back of the book or at the end of the letters, they are in the margins - so there's no inconvenient flipping back and forth. It's a small detail, but it was one I really appreciated.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After seeing a video, "A Sense of Wonder", which portrays Rachel Carson giving her account of her life and the writing of "Silent Spring" I went looking for a biography that would fill in the pieces. Synopses of most did not seem to deal with the questions in my mind of her family relationships and responsibilities, of how she came to do what she did. "Always, Rachel" is beginning to do just that. The editor's preface by Dorothy Freeman's granddaughter and introduction by Paul Brooks provide excellent explanations and create a framework for understanding the letters.
If you're looking for a quick read, this isn't it. It is however a lovely portrait of a life that can be picked up and put down in short sessions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book. I got a real sense for who exactly Rachel and Dorothy were. Many thanks to the author, Dorothy's descendant, for making these materials available. I know some feel that these sorts of things are an intrusion--and certainly Rachel feared intrusion--but reading about their lives, from their own perspectives, was very helpful and healing for me on a personal level.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book is well -written and I have long been a huge Rachel Carson fan, I found this book very hard to read. It feels very voyeuristic, as the letters are obviously very personal to the two women who wrote them. I understand the granddaughter had her grandmother's permission to publish - but I SERIOUSLY feel this shouldn't have been done. These letters should remain private, and I would not read the rest of the book.
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