Silent Spring (1962, 2002 40th anniversary edition)
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
Reading this book is necessary to understand the blooming of environmental consciousness since the 1960s. For those who haven’t read it (me until now), but are interested in (or at least aware of) environmental issues, it is eye-opening to see how the chemical insecticide industry steamrolled governments into massive application of poisons to the land without considering the impact on life.
The afterword to the 40th anniversary edition by Edward O. Wilson says the following:
Forty years ago, Silent Spring delivered a galvanic jolt to public consciousness and, as a result, infused the environmental movement with new substance and meaning. The effects of pesticides and other toxic chemical pollutants on the environment and public health had been well documented before Silent Spring, but in bits and pieces scattered through the technical literature. Environmental scientists were aware of the problem, but by and large they focused only on the narrow sector of their personal expertise. It was Rachel Carson’s achievement to synthesize this knowledge into a single image that everyone, scientist and the general public alike, could easily understand.