My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In Al Gore’s introduction to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring he wrote, “Silent Spring came as a cry in the wilderness, a deeply felt, thoroughly researched, and brilliantly written argument that changed the course of history. Without this book, the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never have developed at all.”
In “And No Birds Sing” Carson began making clear connections with the use of pesticides and insecticides and the hazardous effects they have on birds.
In 1954 spraying for Dutch elm disease on the Michigan State University campus began and “soon it became evident that something was wrong. Dead and dying robins began to appear on the campus” (106).
Carson went on to include other species, writing:
“Mammals, also, may easily be involved in the cycle, directly or indirectly” (110).
Direct poisoning was no longer the only act to consider in the destruction of the Earth and its species, but indirect or secondary poisoning was belonging to the threat as well.
Carson further cites research after research article which began to draw a morbid picture of how pesticides/insecticides did more harm than good in both the United States and England.
At the end of the chapter, Carson asks, “Who has made the decision that sets in motion these chains of poisonings, this ever-widening wave of death that spreads out, like ripples when a pebble is dropped into a still pond” (127)?
In “Rivers of Death” Carson continues the onslaught of scientific facts which illustrate how pesticides and insecticides not only destroy the land but how they also contaminate water supplies, indirectly poisoning human beings.
Spraying of forests led to the toxins entering into the water supply, either by rainfall or by an underground source, which then in turn poisoned the fish, and when birds and humans ate the fish, they too were poisoned.
In addition, the poisoned waters would also find their way into the drinking water, poisoning more and more humans.
The chain which linked the initial spraying of chemicals apparently did not end with the designated targets. In efforts to save trees, humanity was finding, as Carson notes, that a cycle of life was becoming broken and species were dying in the hundreds of thousands, and in some cases in the millions.
Carson ends the chapter with a warning as much as a reminder:
“The fisheries of fresh and salt water are a resource of great importance, involving the interests and the welfare of a very large number of people. That they are now seriously threatened by the chemicals entering our waters can no longer be doubted” (152).
Carson makes it clear that if one unit of the whole is contaminated then all parts of the whole, in some form or manner, also become contaminated, seriously jeopardizing everything.
Carson’s jeremiad, as Al Gore noted, “brought us back to a fundamental idea lost to an amazing degree in modern civilization: the interconnection of human beings and the natural environment. This book was a shaft of light that for the first time illuminated what is arguably the most important issue of our era.”
Silent Spring woke a sleeping nation up, and the world, angering belligerent chemical producing companies, to the deadly possibilities and truths which had long been over-looked, even blatantly ignored, in efforts to maximize profits, but in the end did more harm than good.
I recommend reading Silent Spring and more about this remarkable woman that helped to make the world a better and safer place.
More Books to Consider:
CG FEWSTON is an American novelist who is a member of AWP, a member of Americans for the Arts, and a professional member and advocate of the PEN American Center, advocating for the freedom of expression around the world.
CG FEWSTON has travelled across continents and visited such places as Mexico, the island of Guam, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Taipei and Beitou in Taiwan, Bali in Indonesia, and Guilin and Shenzhen and Beijing in China. He also enjoys studying and learning French, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin.
CG FEWSTON earned an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership and Administration (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors) from Stony Brook University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University, where he had the chance to work with wonderful and talented novelists, such as Richard Adams Carey (author of In the Evil Day, October 2015; and, The Philosopher Fish, 2006) and Jessica Anthony (author of Chopsticks, 2012; and, The Convalescent, 2010) as well as New York Times Best-Selling novelists Matt Bondurant (author of The Night Swimmer, 2012; and, The Wettest County in the World, 2009, made famous in the movie Lawless, 2012) and Wiley Cash (author of A Land More Kind Than Home, 2013; and, This Dark Road to Mercy, 2014).
Among many others, CG FEWSTON’S stories, photographs and essays have appeared in Sediments Literary–Arts Journal, Bohemia, Ginosko Literary Journal, GNU Journal (“Hills Like Giant Elephants”), Tendril Literary Magazine, Prachya Review (“The One Who Had It All”), Driftwood Press, The Missing Slate Literary Magazine (“Darwin Mother”), Gravel Literary Journal, Foliate Oak Magazine, The Writer’s Drawer, Moonlit Road, Nature Writing, and Travelmag: The Independent Spirit; and for several years he was a contributor to Vietnam’s national premier English newspaper, Tuoi Tre, “The Youth Newspaper.”
You can read more about CG FEWSTON and his writing at
A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN won GOLD for Literary Classics’ 2015 best book in the category under ”Special Interest” for “Gender Specific – Female Audience”…
Finalist in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Romantic Fiction…
Finalist in the 2015 Mystery & Mayhem Novel Writing Contest…
Praise for A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN:
“Fewston delivers an atmospheric and evocative thriller in which an American government secret agent must navigate fluid allegiances and murky principles in 1970s Tehran… A cerebral, fast-paced thriller.”
“A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN is a thrilling adventure which takes place in pre-revolutionary Tehran. Author CG FEWSTON provides a unique glimpse into this important historical city and its rich culture during a pivotal time in its storied past. This book is so much more than a love story. Skillfully paired with a suspenseful tale of espionage, A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN is a riveting study of humanity. Replete with turns & twists and a powerful finish, FEWSTON has intimately woven a tale which creates vivid pictures of the people and places in this extraordinary novel.”
CG FEWSTON‘s new novel,
A TIME TO LOVE IN TEHRAN, was published on April 2, 2015 —
10 years to the day of the publication
of his first novella, A FATHER’S SON (April 2, 2005)
“Thus one skilled at giving rise to the extraordinary
is as boundless as Heaven and Earth,
as inexhaustible as the Yellow River and the ocean.
Ending and beginning again,
like the sun and moon. Dying and then being born,
like the four seasons.”
found in Sources of Chinese Tradition, p 5