Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

This title is part of BHA's Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists


A professor assigned my class Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” the book credited with launching the modern environmental movement, my senior year of college. I hadn’t heard much about the classic then, but I was intrigued enough by Carson’s concern for the future, and the promise of a good grade. I quickly understood why it is a critical read for conservationists and how it popularized the field of ecology. The book details the deadly impacts of DDT and other pesticides on American ecosystems, successfully putting together numerous case studies into an unprecedented summary and call to action. What I think is most remarkable about the 55-year-old book is its first section, “A Fable for Tomorrow,” and its eery relevance to today’s climate change-stricken world. In this section’s few hundred words describing the robust environment of a hypothetical American town and its sudden lack of vibrance, Carson comes to the same conclusion politicians deny and conservationists preach, the same conclusion that deserves to be repeated until it clicks with the masses: “No witchcraft, no enemy action had snuffed out life in this stricken world. The people had done it to themselves.”

-MADDIE VINCENT, Backcountry Journal Intern (former)


Purchase Silent Spring on Amazon Smile, and register Backcountry Hunters & Anglers as your preferred non-profit to give back to your wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor

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