Lost Woods by Rachel Carson

4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Rachel Carson is now rightly considered to be one of the environmental thinkers and writers of the twentieth century. Her seminal work, Silent Spring was the book that told the public of the scandal behind pesticide pollution and the way that the companies who sold the products used disinformation to downplay just how dangerous they were. More worrying was the indifference of public officials who took the chemical companies ‘evidence’ as truth.

The clouds are as old as the Earth itself – as much a part of our world as land or sea
They are the writing of the wind on the sky.

But she wrote lots more than just that book and this slim volume is a collection of her previously unpublished work, essays, field journals, speeches, articles and letters. It is an interesting read, full of well-informed arguments and criticism of those that were still ignoring the evidence that indiscriminate use of toxic chemicals was having on the wild environment. There is more in here than that. Some of the essays showed just how poetic she could be in her writing, I thought she was particularly good when writing about the sea and shoreline.

Contrary to the beliefs that seem to often guide our actions, man does not live apart from the world; he lives in the midst of a complex dynamic interplay of physical, chemical and biological forces, and between himself and this environment there are continuing, never-ending interactions

I must admit that I have never read Silent Spring, so this is the first book of hers that I have read. Even though some of the articles and essays are dated and the world has changed in better and worse ways since a lot of these were written, some of the points that she is making are sadly still valid today. I liked her writing style, she has a way of making her point that leaves the reader very clear on her intentions and passion.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    This sounds like an interesting collection and I’m glad she’s still being read – I imagine Margaret Atwood has helped with that, as she writes a fair bit about her in her latest book of essays.

    • Paul

      I picked up a Folio copy of silent Spring this week, then promptly dropped it. So I will be reading that at some point. Not read Atwood’s new book yet

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