Review: Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson

By Miller, Ryder W. | Electronic Green Journal, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview
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Review: Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson


Miller, Ryder W., Electronic Green Journal


Review: Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson Peter Matthiessen (Ed.) Reviewed by Ryder W. Miller Matthiessen, Peter (Ed.). Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. 208pp. ISBN: 978-0-618-87276-3. $14.95, paper.

Peter Matthiessen and the other famous assembled writers here remember and celebrate the impact of the influential environmentalist Rachel Carson. Included are pieces by famous writers and environmentalists E.O. Wilson, Jim Lynch, Sandra Steingraber, Al Gore, John Elder, John Hay, Janisse Ray, Terry Tempest Williams, Freeman House, Robert Michael Pyle, and Carson biographer Linda Lear.

The assembled do attest to the multi-faceted success of Rachel Carson, with each writer dwelling on different aspects of her achievement. Rachel Carson was so influential because she was many things. This work will make this obvious to college students and the general public, and may also provide new insights to scholars who already know a great deal about Carson. Peter Matthiessen writes that she was foremost a writer, not a crusader. E.O. Wilson found her multifaceted and credits her with helping inspire the creation of United States Environmental Protection Agency. John Elder found her writing grounded in the poetic tradition. John Hay writes about how wondrous of a writer and explorer she was. For Terry Tempest Williams she was a sacred warrior. Freeman House reminds that she was an ecology teacher before the word ecology became famous. Robert Michael Pyle remembers her as a naturalist who could also write eloquently about the natural environment, entertaining readers who missed the sea. Carson biographer Linda Lear bookends the assembled writers mapping Carson's journey from a sense of wonder about the natural world (as illustrated in her ocean book trilogy), to despair over what we were doing to the environment (Silent Spring (1962)), to hope that we could change ourselves.

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