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The Power of the Word

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Image of Rachel Carson Silent Spring Page 2 (2002 Edition)








Silent Spring was an immediate success, and had almost immediate impact. It was placed on the New York Times best-seller list. Would the book have been so widely and enthusiastically received if it had been written in a different style?

Rachel Carson honed her writing skills over many years. Her work with US Fish and Wildlife Service was largely to translate science for a general audience.

The opening chapter of Silent Spring is titled, “A Fable for Tomorrow”, scarcely the introduction one might expect for a scientific book. Her writing is described as lyrical and poetic, and this style was targeted by some of her critics to suggest an unscientific approach to her analyses.

Ironically, Silent Spring is not as lyrical a book as her three works on the sea. Her tone in Silent Spring has been described by one supporter as “cool and furious”.

Image of Rachel Carson Silent Spring Page 297 (2002 Edition)