And No Birds Sing: Rhetorical Analyses of Rachel Carson's by Craig Waddell

By Craig Waddell

Craig Waddell offers essays investigating Rachel Carson’s influential 1962 e-book, Silent Spring. In his foreword, Paul Brooks, Carson’s editor at Houghton Mifflin, describes the method that ended in Silent Spring. In an afterword, Linda Lear, Carson’s contemporary biographer, remembers the tip of Carson’s lifestyles and descriptions the eye that Carson’s ebook and Carson herself acquired from students and biographers, awareness that centred so minutely on her existence that it detracted from a spotlight on her paintings. The foreword by means of Brooks and the afterword by means of Lear body this exploration in the context of Carson’s existence and work. Contributors are Edward P. J. Corbett, Carol B, Gartner, Cheryll Glotfelty, Randy Harris,  M. Jimmie Killingsworth, Linda Lear, Ralph H. Lutts, Christine Oravec, Jacqueline S. Palmer, Markus J. Peterson, Tarla Rai Peterson, and Craig Waddell. jointly, those essays discover Silent Spring’s effectiveness in conveying its traumatic message and the rhetorical suggestions that helped create its broad impression.  

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Extra resources for And No Birds Sing: Rhetorical Analyses of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

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The National Agricultural Chemical Association led the attack, committing a quarter of a million dollars to improving the image of the industry and refuting Carson's case against the indiscriminate use of chemical insecticides (Brooks 294); the Manufacturing Chemists' Association also attacked the book (Lear, Rachel Carson 413). The response from the reading public, on the other hand, was overwhelmingly positive. By December, more than one hundred thousand copies had been sold in bookstores. In addition, the Book-of-the-Month Club chose Silent Spring as its main selection for October, and the Consumer's Union ordered a special paperbound edition for its members (Graham 69).

3 This hypothesis suggests that contemporary advocates who would learn from Carson's example should focus not on the construction of apocalyptic narratives per seas many environmentalists, such as Paul Ehrlich (Population Bomb) and Stephen Schneider (Global Warming), have donebut on allying their appeals with contemporary concerns (compare Killingsworth and Palmer, "Discourse" 11). This point was not lost on Carson's opponents, some of whom allied their attacks on Carson with prevailing concerns about world Communism (see Graham 49).

This relative indifference to the hazards of pesticides in the first half of the century stands in stark contrast to the vocal outcry following the publication of Silent Spring. 2 Page 19 Why is it that the book's publication in 1962 had such a major impact upon the public? The answer to this question might reveal a great deal about the origins of contemporary environmental concerns, but no one has examined it systematically. A number of answers have been suggested, focusing most often upon Carson's extraordinary skill and reputation as a writer, the general circumstances surrounding the rise of pesticide use and misuse, the publisher's marketing strategy, and the chemical industry's response.

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