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Silent Spring Paperback – Bargain Price, October 22, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 480 customer reviews

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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: Mariner Books; Anv edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618249060
  • ASIN: B001TODNZK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (480 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,542,208 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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15 Comments 282 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
As an entomologist I would like to clarify what I have seen in some of the prior reviews. I would also like future readers of this book to understand that it was written in 1962. It's important to understand what Rachel Carson's book was trying to do. She had to make an impact to millions of readers, and do so in layman's terms. That was a near insurmountable task, especially the way in which women in science were treated during that era.
I do agree with others in that some of her statements are based on shaky evidence. However, I don't agree that see is responsible for thousands of deaths due to malaria. Diseases have existed for THOUSANDS OF YEARS, and all animals have had to deal with it, including humans. For example, humans with sickle cell anemia are immune to malaria.
It is easy for someone in America to say that DDT should not be used in Africa to fight disease, because we don't have to deal with the thousands of people dying every day. Perhaps DDT can be used in more precise applications to cut down on mosquitos (which are the vectors or carriers of the disease). However, malaria and other autochthonous diseases in Africa can be dealt with by means other than DDT, and thanks to Rachel Carson, funding for research into areas such as creating transgenic mosquitos is a reality. Someday we may have the ability to eraticate malaria, and credit would undoubted have to partly go to her.
The issue of the safety of DDT has been mentioned in many of these reviews, and the truth is NO ONE IS RIGHT! There has been almost no testing into the safety of DDT, so it's impossible for anyone to say that it's safe or dangerous (to humans). A famous toxicologist once said, "The poison is the dose".
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