Books about Rachel Carson
The following is a list of several of the books available about Rachel Carson. Most are available at your local library.
If you decide to purchase online through Amazon.com, please remember to start at “Smile.Amazon.com” and select the Rachel Carson Homestead so a portion of your purchase (no extra cost to you) benefits the RCHA.
The House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work
by Paul Brooks
Brooks was Carson’s editor, knew her achievements as well as her early struggles, disappointments her her triumphs.
“The first book to be based on Rachel Carson’s papers, The House of Life is at once a literary biography and a reader (with excerpts from her writings).
A very private person, Rachel Carson,…left no formal statemnt about her life and work. But from her personal and professional correspondence, from speeches and interviews, and from the recollections of her closest friends, it has been possible to depict her career to a large extent in her own words.” – from frontispiece
Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
by Linda Lear
Awarded the best book on women in science by the History of Science Society, 1998. This book complements and extends Brooks’ professional side of Carson with a personal side. A veritable biography, based on significant research and voluminous sources.
Lost Woods: The Discovered Writings of Rachel Carson by Linda Lear
This wonderful anthology includes excerpts from Rachel’s writings, from her youth, her best-selling ocean trilogy, Silent Spring, and other works – her weather documentary that talked about the impact of industrialization on our weather back in the 1950s, her philosophy of animal treatment in a UK-published biology textbook, to her letters, speeches and testimony.
The Gentle Subversive (New Narratives in American History)
by Mark Hamilton Lytle
In this fascinating ecological biography by environmental historian Mark Lytle, Carson’s life is separated into four chapters according to seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter; each focusing on genesis, gestation and publication of Carson’s four books.
Lytle recaps the professional and personal side of Rachel Carson (covered in depth by Brooks and Lear, above), and extends the subject to Rachel Carson’s impact on the environmental movement. Lytle attempts to answer why, after so many consider Carson’s warnings prophetic, others still reinvigorate controversy over Silent Spring.
Lost Woods: The Discovered Writings of Rachel Carson
edited and introduction by Linda Lear
Anthology of Carson’s unpublished writings. Boston, Beacon Press, 1998. Also available in large print editions.
Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964
Ten years of correspondence between Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman. Boston, Beacon Press, 1995.
From a time when long-distance social telephone calls were a luxury and people wrote to “stay in touch.” Reading these numerous personal letters gives more of a feeling of the reader’s prying rather than insight. The letters lack context but demonstrate Rachel Carson’s passion for sharing discoveries with a close friend. Rachel Carson always had the support of close friends – most of whom respected her desire for privacy.