What a Book Can Do: The Publication and Reception of ''Silent Spring''

What a Book Can Do: The Publication and Reception of ''Silent Spring''

by Priscilla Coit Murphy
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1558495827

ISBN-13: 9781558495821

Pub. Date: 04/03/2007

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press

In 1962 the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring sparked widespread public debate on the issue of pesticide abuse and environmental degradation. The discussion permeated the entire print and electronic media system of mid-twentieth century America. Although Carson's text was serialized in the New Yorker, it made a significant difference that it was also

Overview

In 1962 the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring sparked widespread public debate on the issue of pesticide abuse and environmental degradation. The discussion permeated the entire print and electronic media system of mid-twentieth century America. Although Carson's text was serialized in the New Yorker, it made a significant difference that it was also published as a book. With clarity and precision, Priscilla Coit Murphy explores the importance of the book form for the author, her editors and publishers, her detractors, the media, and the public at large.

Murphy reviews the publishing history of the Houghton Mifflin edition and the prior New Yorker serialization, describing Carson's approach to her project as well as the views and expectations of her editors. She also documents the response of opponents to Carson's message, notably the powerful chemical industry, including efforts to undermine, delay, or stop publication altogether.

Murphy then investigates the media's role, showing that it went well beyond providing a forum for debate. In addition, she analyzes the perceptions and expectations of the public at large regarding the book, the debate, and the media. By probing all of these perspectives, Murphy sheds new light on the dynamic between newsmaking books, the media, and the public. In the process, she addresses a host of broader questions about the place of books in American culture, past, present, and future.

University of Massachusetts Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558495821
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
04/03/2007
Series:
Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     xi
Preface and Acknowledgments     xiii
Silent Spring and Its Contexts: "The Right to Know"     1
Author and Agent: "Where an Author Can Call His Soul His Own"     19
Editors and Publishers: Dealing with a "Super-Ruckus"     53
Opposition: "How Do You Fight a Best-Seller?"     89
Media: "One Formidable Indictment"     119
Audience: "This Ought to Be a Book"     159
Conclusion: "Speaking Truth to Power"     183
Perspectives on the Study of Silent Spring     199
Notes     223
Index     251

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