On A Farther Shore

On A Farther Shore

The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

Book - 2012
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Published on the fiftieth anniversary of her seminal book, Silent Spring , here is an indelible new portrait of Rachel Carson, founder of the environmental movement

She loved the ocean and wrote three books about its mysteries, including the international bestseller The Sea Around Us . But it was with her fourth book, Silent Spring , that this unassuming biologist transformed our relationship with the natural world.

Rachel Carson began work on Silent Spring in the late 1950s, when a dizzying array of synthetic pesticides had come into use. Leading this chemical onslaught was the insecticide DDT, whose inventor had won a Nobel Prize for its discovery. Effective against crop pests as well as insects that transmitted human diseases such as typhus and malaria, DDT had at first appeared safe. But as its use expanded, alarming reports surfaced of collateral damage to fish, birds, and other wildlife. Silent Spring was a chilling indictment of DDT and its effects, which were lasting, widespread, and lethal.

Published in 1962, Silent Spring shocked the public and forced the government to take action-despite a withering attack on Carson from the chemicals industry. The book awakened the world to the heedless contamination of the environment and eventually led to the establishment of the EPA and to the banning of DDT and a host of related pesticides. By drawing frightening parallels between dangerous chemicals and the then-pervasive fallout from nuclear testing, Carson opened a fault line between the gentle ideal of conservation and the more urgent new concept of environmentalism.

Elegantly written and meticulously researched, On a Farther Shore reveals a shy yet passionate woman more at home in the natural world than in the literary one that embraced her. William Souder also writes sensitively of Carson's romantic friendship with Dorothy Freeman, and of her death from cancer in 1964. This extraordinary new biography captures the essence of one of the great reformers of the twentieth century.

A New York Times Notable Book of 2012

"A suspenseful tale of the literary life...utterly inspiring." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Captivating...Souder writes vividly and with great empathy for his subject and her cause." -- New York Times Book Review

"A delightful, fascinating, engrossing read about some of the most important insights of modern science. You'll find yourself thinking about Carson whenever you take a walk in the woods." --Slate.com

Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2012.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307462206
Branch Call Number: 570.92 Carso -S
Characteristics: 496 pages : illustrations


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mmemouse Apr 27, 2013

Rachel Carson’s fourth and most famous book Silent Spring was published 50 years ago. This evocative biography of the seminal force behind the environmental movement is a true gem. Souder follows Carson from her early days in a multigenerational family through her educational career, her development as a writer and scientist, and her growing love for the sea and awakening to the realization that the earth and all who dwell thereon are in peril. An enormous amount of research evolves into a beautiful and moving tribute to one of the earth’s true champions.

NewYorkViews Jan 02, 2013

Rachel Carson is one of my favorite scientists. She was quite practical to see the potential dangers, and dangers of pesticides on the fragile ecosystem, and she was very advanced in her ability to see the extent of potential future damage to the environment by a variety of human impositions. Her work is eternal, with many applications today and in the future. Some of the book was excellent, but I did not like the delve into her very personal relationships--she is not alive to protect her privacy, and how accurate or well-rounded it is, is questionnable.

ChristchurchLib Dec 18, 2012

In 1962, marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson published what would become her magnum opus, Silent Spring. Already a bestselling author, Carson reached her biggest audience yet through her meticulously researched yet accessible discussion of environmental issues -- especially those caused by synthetic pesticides. This "expansive, nuanced" (Publishers Weekly) biography of Carson examines not only her career and the impact of her work on public policy, but also her carefully guarded private life -- which she struggled to protect in the face of both unexpected celebrity and opposition from the chemical industry. For a fascinating glimpse at the life of a woman scientist whose ideas proved prescient -- and remain largely relevant today -- don't miss this book.

From Nature and Science newsletter December 2012

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