September marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a revolutionary exposé on the calamitous effect of unleashing DDT and other pesticides indiscriminately on the environment. Many are familiar with the fallout that followed publication of Silent Spring, as the chemical industry launched a vitriolic campaign to discredit Carson and preserve its bottom line. Largely forgotten, however, is that prior to Silent Spring, Rachel Carson was already famous, having penned The
Sea Around Us—a scientific paean to life in the oceans that stood atop The New York Times Best Sellers List for nine months and won the National Book Award. William Souder’s new Rachel Carson biography, On a Farther Shore, seeks to reintroduce Carson to the world. With the gift of a great storyteller, Souder offers an intriguing portrait of the slight, unassuming individual who helped catalyze the modern environmental movement.