Under the Sea Wind   The Sea Around Us   The Edge of the Sea   Silent Spring   The Sense of Wonder


Under the Sea-Wind

“Both water and sand were the color of steel overlaid with the sheen of silver, so that it was hard to say where water ended and land begun.”

“So quietly did he approach that the sound of his wings, if sound there were, was lost in the whisper song of the water turning over shells on the wet sand.” “He flew with a curious, lilting motion, lifting his wings high after the down stroke. The long lower bill, shaped like a scissor’s blade.might cut the water.

This was the first of Carson’s many books. Under the Sea Wind: A Naturalist’s Picture of Ocean Life at first was praised by critics, but only sold a very small amount of copies. However, after the publishing of its sequel, the book was re-issued and became a bestseller. In this book Carson describes the behavior and life of different animals that depend on the ocean, in a poetic story form. It illustrates the beauty of the ocean and the role of the shores. This book is her favorite of all the ones she wrote.

Back to Top

The Sea Around Us

"It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself."

“So if I tell here the story of how the young planet Earth acquired an ocean, it must be a story pieced together from many resources and containing chapters the details of which we can only imagine.”

“Beginnings are apt to be shadowy, and so it is with the beginnings of that great mother of life, the sea.”

Another of Rachel Carson’s prize winning and best selling books, The Sea Around Us had been made into a movie which won an Academy Award and the 1953 Oscar for Best Documentary. However, Carson was extremely disappointed with the film and decided never to sell her works to film companies again. It remained on the New York Time’s Bestseller list for 86 weeks and so far has been translated into 32 languages. First published in 1951, this was Carson’s second published book and also the second book in her ocean trilogy. At first, Carson and her agent had a lot of trouble trying to sell the book to publishers, but then she unexpectedly received attention from audiences such as the Reader’s Digest, which gave her much popularity. In fact, the book sold so well it gave her enough financially to move close to the seashore, which she had always loved, and she was able to retire there.

Back to Top

The Edge of the Sea

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”

“I have tried to interpret the shore in terms of that essential unity that binds life to the Earth. I have expressed some of the thoughts and feelings that make the sea’s edge, for me, a place of exceeding beauty and fascination.”

“I gain some new awareness of its beauty and its deeper meanings, sensing that intricate fabric of life by which one creature is linked with another, and each with its surroundings.”

Completed in 1955, The Edge of the Sea is the final book of Rachel Carson’s sea trilogy. This book focuses mainly on life of ecosystems on the sea coast, and received many favorable reviews. In fact, many critics say this book was even better written than Silent Spring, the most famous of Carson’s books. In this book, she discusses the relationships between coastal plants and animals, and also about how the climates and tides can effect them. Rachel Carson’s descriptive writings of nature are very much evident in this book, and from this she became known for her poetic skills. The interesting thing about this book is that it can be read as a field guide and also as an entertainment book, a great combination of both. Many would also say this is one of the first books from “an ecological perspective”.

Back to Top

Silent Spring

“fed little tranquilizing pills of half-truth. We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugarcoating of unpalatable facts.”

“In nature nothing exists alone”

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world. ”

“As crude a weapon as the cave man's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life - a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

Silent Spring, a book written on the disturbing dangers of pesticides, was chosen by some distinguished Americans to be the most influential book for at least fifty years. The tremendous effect of this book was realized by chemical companies even before it was published. Many major chemical companies tried very hard to stop it from being published, but failed to do so. When Olga Owens Huckins of Massachusetts sent Rachel Carson a letter about pesticides killing birds, she decided to investigate further. What Rachel Carson found was very alarming and caused a great reaction; even President Kennedy talked about the book and had specialists examine the conclusions. This was the last book Rachel Carson wrote and published before she died.

Carson decided the title should be “Silent Spring”, describing a season of spring in which no birds sing because they have all died from pesticides. In this book, Rachel Carson talks about how pesticides causes a tremendous amount of damage to both humans and the environment while only trying to target a few pests. She even lists alternatives to using pesticides, which is better for the environment and better for us. She shows the world that there are real natural solutions to one of our most serious problems. She brings the toxicity of these chemicals to the attention of the public; less than a drop of one inhaled causes death within minutes, another makes water unsafe even for swimming, and another even kills on contact. Because of Rachel Carson, this severe problem is being solved and in the future, might never destroy the lives of human or wildlife again. Filled with thoughts and amazing illustrations, Silent Spring is a must read for everyone. It has been named one of the 25 greatest science books of all time, by Discover Magazine.

Back to Top

The Sense of Wonder

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood."

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ”

A story of her adventures through the landscapes of Maine’s rocky coast with her nephew, Roger, describing all of the natural beauty they see. This includes the music created by the sounds of nature. The book is on fostering a child’s curiosity about things in life and was originally a magazine article called “Help your Child to Wonder”. Carson is trying to get the message across that nature is to be enjoyed and explored forward from a young age. This book was published after Carson’s death.

Back to Top