At a Glance

In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson definitively proves that pesticides do more harm than good. She details how ineffective most pesticides are, how toxic they've become, and how they've managed to radically alter entire ecosystems by killing off animals like robins and eagles.

  • Carson begins by noting that attempts to improve the efficiency of pesticides have merely resulted in their becoming even more toxic. As those toxins move up the food chain, they increase in potency to the point of killing many animals, including eagles.

  • Carson details how pesticides are bad for humans. The toxins are stored in fat, where they linger in the system, causing many problems, including diseases like cancer.

  • At the end of the book, Carson offers up several safe, natural methods that could replace pesticides, arguing that these methods could only improve modern agriculture.


(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Chapter One
Carson's survey of the research on pesticides opens in a most unscientific fashion with a tale about an American...

(The entire section is 1640 words.)