Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the power of one book

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring : The American ExperienceI just watched a rerun of an old episode of The American Experience that focused on Rachel Carson's book, SILENT SPRING and I had to share a few thoughts.

Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the ArcticPrior to beginning my blog I read SILENT SNOW by Marla Cone, a book about the poisoning of the Arctic due to pollution.  I found it both horrifying and amazing and highly recommend it.  It was, of course, titled and themed after Carson's book, but I had not read that one (and still have not).  In fact, the only thing I knew about SILENT SPRING was that it had something to do with the way chemicals affect birds.

Silent SpringAfter watching this program on SILENT SPRING I am horrified at what we didn't know about pesticides and the way they affect living things.  From what I understand, Carson was a brilliant natural scientist and a gifted and eloquent writer - a rare combination.   Her writing brought enormous attention to a very serious problem.  Within 10 years of SILENT SPRING's publication sweeping changes were made in environmental laws, and in the the way the US government and the American people thought about pesticides.

SILENT SPRING is now on my must-read-soon list. I can't wait to pick it up, though I'm sure I'll be horrified and sickened by what I find inside. 

I was particularly struck by this quote near the end of the program:
A few thousand words from Rachel Carson and the world took a new direction.
And that, my friends, demonstrates the tremendous power that one book can have.


Serena said...

I read silent spring in college as part of an enviro class I took. I love that book. I hope you enjoy it.

EnviroWriter22 said...

There's a Rachel Carson feature film in development called "Silent Spring of Rachel Carson." The official website is On the website is an emotional 4 minutes video about Rachel Carson that includes clips pulled from the American Experience documentary. Also some great information about Rachel and the team making the movie. It looks like it will be a quality production. You can sign up to receive updates on their progress. Enjoy.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Serena - I'm looking forward to reading it!

EnviroWriter22 - Thanks for letting me know - I'll definitely check it out.

Alyce said...

That is such a great quote about her and the power of words! I haven't read either book, but will add them to my list now.

It's appalling all of the harmful chemicals that are still out there. I would hope that more people like her would continually speak up.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Alyce - Isn't that a great quote?! I had to rewind and listen to it again because it was so powerful. I'm looking forward to reading the book to see how she combines her scientific knowledge with her literary skills.

Dreamybee said...

I'm sorry I missed the American Experience-I'll have to look for it when it airs again. I read SILENT SPRING several years ago-I can't remember if it was before or after moving to Hawaii-but it definitely changed the whole way I think about my world. Like you, I was shocked by how uninformed the public was about the POISON that was being applied to everything and everyone back in the day like it was no big deal.

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