Silent Spring

by Rachel Carson (1962)

This remains one of the most eloquent and perceptive books ever written about the hazards of environmental pollution.  Carson, a marine biologist turned science writer, describes the devastation caused by the careless use of pesticides and the rising levels of global radioactivity.  She offers a balanced perspective on the use of chemicals in agriculture: "All this is not to say [that] there is no insect problem and no need to control.  I am saying, rather, that control must be geared to realities ... and that the methods employed must be such that they do not destroy us along with the insects."  (p. 19)  She begins and ends her book by insisting that humankind must accommodate itself to nature rather than seeking to conquer it.