A Sense of Wonder

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Sense of Wonder

Sense of Wonder

This week I saw the inspiring film A Sense of Wonder made from interviews with Rachel Carson in the final year of her life, in 1964. As the government marine biologist spoke of the critical acclaim she received for her book Silent Spring, she said, “In some ways, the subject chooses the writer.”

Carson had made a seven-month commitment to write a book for which she received a publishing advance from Houghton Mifflin in 1958. It became the culmination of her life’s work when, two and a half years into her research, she realized she was just scratching the surface. When Silent Spring was published in 1962, the critics in the chemical industry were louder than the initial acclaim. (She noted there were few dissidents but they had a lot of money.) Her book catalyzed investigation into the destruction of life that comes from synthetic pesticides and catapulted environmental concerns to the forefront of public discourse, where they have remained ever since. Continue reading

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