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Silent Spring Anniversary Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 475 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-6442249065
ISBN-10: 0618249060
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is now 35 years old. Written over the years 1958 to 1962, it took a hard look at the effects of insecticides and pesticides on songbird populations throughout the United States, whose declining numbers yielded the silence to which her title attests. "What happens in nature is not allowed to happen in the modern, chemical-drenched world," she writes, "where spraying destroys not only the insects but also their principal enemy, the birds. When later there is a resurgence of the insect population, as almost always happens, the birds are not there to keep their numbers in check." The publication of her impeccably reported text helped change that trend by setting off a wave of environmental legislation and galvanizing the nascent ecological movement. It is justly considered a classic, and it is well worth rereading today. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This new edition of Carson's classic features a new introduction by Vice President Al Gore.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company; Anniversary edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618249060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618249060
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (475 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Rachel Carson sent tremors through American society with the publication of her 1962 book "Silent Spring." Carson, a marine biologist who died two years after publication of the book, wrote "Silent Spring" when she received a letter from a concerned citizen lamenting the mass death of birds after a DDT spraying. Carson continues to serve as a touchstone for both mainline and radical environmental groups, from the Sierra Club to Earth First!. It is not difficult to see why; Carson's call for active involvement in our environment is still an absolute necessity today as the industrial system continues its rapid march across the landscape. If we do not want our children born with gills and fins, keeping Carson in mind is important.
Carson's analysis of DDT and other synthetic chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides resulted in a deeply ominous conclusion-pesticides destroy the environment and threaten everything within the ecological system. Carson examined the composition of pesticides, revealing that synthetic pesticides have the ability to not only kill their intended targets, but they also move right up the food chain, eventually reaching the human population. The pesticides then build up in the tissues of the body, rarely breaking down but often building in intensity through continued exposure or changing into forms that are even more toxic by interacting with other ingested chemicals. Even worse, these chemicals cause tremors, paralysis, cancer, and a host of other unpleasant ailments. Carson cites numerous stories about exposed people falling ill and dying shortly after spraying these toxic chemicals. Carson also shows the biological process these poisons take when they enter the body, when they cut off oxygen to the cells and raise the metabolic rate to unhealthy levels.
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14 Comments 280 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Anyone who has read this book has easy reference to multiple studies that ALL show DDT is an entirely ineffective long-term solution to malaria. It isn't hard to miss the sexism in a lot of these comments, calling Carson out as "emotional" especially stands out-anyone who has actually read her book would struggle to find a trace of emotion as she describes case studies in depth. She loved nature, this is true, but the woman never made a single assertion that wasn't backed up by abundant research. The haters can call Carson names and accuse her of murder all day long, but the fact is there isn't a single study out there that gives any hope of DDT being a sustainable solution to malaria (or anything else, really. Does cancer count?). The only reason it is being sprayed in poor areas is because there is restricted funding for sustainable methods of mosquito-control, and DDT is well, cheap. But a cheap poison is still a poison, and at the end of the day none of the trolls on this page can produce any credible research to back up their opinionated claims. So they display this scientist, a woman who was never known to display anything other than calm composure, even when testifying in front of congress and the nation, as an overly-emotional wackjob who decided to rampage against toxic killers one day in the middle of a bad period. She was in fact, the exact opposite- a meticulous, exacting scientist who disliked open displays of emotion and cited all her assertions with plentiful evidence. Read this book, you won't regret it. Unless of course, you already hate facts- then join the trolls on this page!
4 Comments 156 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Too many reviewers see only one thread of Carson's argument: that DDT and pesticides like it endanger the environment. The other thread is that DDT resistance in mosquitoes develops very quickly, and the more quickly the more it is used. Which leaves us right back where we started. Her argument is not that pesticides should not be used, but that they should be used intelligently. In this age, when antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming a very serious problem precisely because of antibiotic overuse (and not only in hospitals, but, most egregiously, as growth enhancers for livestock), this argument should be indisputable.
6 Comments 133 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Silent Spring is, without a doubt, the most amazing book I have ever read. Though it is gut-loaded with facts, Carson' s ingenious wording makes reading it a somewhat enjoyable experience. It seems as if the words had an almost surreal quality. For example one of her chapters is entitled, "Realms of the Soil," and another is, "The Earth's Green Mantle." One can tell that this is her style of writing because she also used such titles in her other books such as Under the Sea Wind. With this style, the drawbacks are that about every sentence is difficult to understand, with few I completely did not understand at all. Then again, I am just a preteen; Silent Spring was intended for adults to read, comprehend, and then heed its warning. I most definitely can see why the people of the 1960's were so moved by this single book, for I could have almost be fooled to thinking that it was a piece of classic fictional literature when I began reading it.
This book was also quite informative, as I was appalled by some of the actual events mentioned, like the story of a factory or warehouse that polluted the water around it so much that over time, the menagerie of chemicals bonded to form an additional one. It is true that Carson exaggerated a bit, but the point is, her message was sent far beyond a person's imagination. Silent Spring was the smoking gun against chemical toxins. Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed Silent Spring, and at times I found it hard to put down. After all, I did not give it such a high rating for nothing.
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