Rachel Carson

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Rachel Carson combined her love of science and writing in her award-winning and controversial book Silent Spring. Revealing the dangers of pesticide use, it brought readers a new awareness of humankind’s contamination of the environment and ultimately led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Up Close: Rachel Carson

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Rachel Carson combined her love of science and writing in her award-winning and controversial book Silent Spring. Revealing the dangers of pesticide use, it brought readers a new awareness of humankind’s contamination of the environment and ultimately led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debbie Levy
This is nonfiction with the potential to wow even readers who think they don't enjoy nonfiction. Part of the credit for the success of this book must go, of course, to its subject, the bold and barrier-breaking Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and other influential books and articles about the environment. Her abiding enthusiasm for the natural world, her talent as a writer and a scientist, her individualism, the slight tinge of eccentricity that surrounds her—all of these characteristics add up to a promising biography subject. But Levine is due equal kudos. She recounts Carson's life, from her childhood outside Pittsburgh to her untimely death from cancer in 1964, with conciseness but also verve. The book is brimming with excerpts from Carson's correspondence and writings. Quotations from people who knew Carson are also used to good effect. (The quotations come mostly from other biographies and secondary sources, identified in the notes and bibliography.) The writing is personal, as befits this title in the publisher's new "Up Close" series. Young readers are likely to connect with much of what they learn about the famous environmentalist: "Rachel ‘wasn't anti-social,' one student [a college classmate of Carson's] recalled. ‘She just wasn't social.'" The author clearly admires Carson, but her tone falls short of reverence, and Carson's personality and accomplishments are allowed to make their own case for this remarkable woman.
VOYA - Cynthia Winfield
The short biographies of twentieth-century lives in the Up-Close Biographies series are captivating in their down-to-earth readability and compassionate narrations. Levine's sympathetic accounting of Rachel Carson's story presents how the first of a family to graduate college became author of "one of the most influential books in the modern world." Carson's devotion to her family and work are explained as so all-consuming that she died a spinster, never having had time to marry. Ever conscious of the music of language, Carson rendered her meticulous scientific research accessible to the layperson through poetic prose that enchanted the average reader, providing a respite from the mounting tensions of the nuclear age. More than maintaining her lifelong sense of wonder for the natural world, Carson effectively shared it with the populace through understandable prose both serialized in magazines and published in books. Her crowning achievement, The Silent Spring, a book detailing the dangers of pesticide overuse, brought the shy scientist into the public sphere where she was hailed by the average reader and vilified by chemical corporations, inspiring the environmental movement. Levine's riveting account credits one unassuming woman with extraordinary accomplishments. Throughout, each author speaks to the subject's ability to balance family and professional pressures. They combine a sympathetic tone with accessible writing and a small finished book size, making the series appealing to readers grade seven and up. Other figures profiled in this series are Robert F. Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash.
Kirkus Reviews
The combination of Rachel Carson's gift for writing with her passion for science and understanding the natural world catapulted her into prominence with the publication of Silent Spring, truly one of those books that changed the world. Levine shares much of the facts of her personal life in a way that makes obvious how family challenges and difficulties were always a priority. She conveys Carson's influence when she relates the professional events, but most vivid are the quotes from her public and personal writing, revealing a powerful intelligence, wit and beauty. There is humor and deprecation of herself as Carson remains modestly unconvinced of her power to change the world, even as she fought cancer while trying to advocate for a new awareness of the interdependence of man and nature. The contrast between the liveliness and elegance of Carson's words with Levine's respectful and honest reportage amplifies the reader's admiration for a woman who cared for her friends and family, yet dedicated her life to making the world a better place. (Biography. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142410462
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/10/2008
  • Series: Penguin Up Close Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.02 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen S. Levine is a web producer, writer, editor, and consultant in marketing and publicity.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Short & sweet.

    Informative, but light enough for any age to get the most from this quick read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    i love it

    cool bvhbjajgchqbc

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