Here is a great article from Literary Hub about Rachel Carson and Jane Jacobs, both of whom published seminal books in 1962. I hope you enjoy it.

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Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, and the Tumultuous Summer of 1962


Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, and the Tumultuous Summer of 1962

Maine, Summer 1962

It was midnight when the lone, auburn-hared woman arrived on the beach. Tall and stooped, just shy of 55, Rachel Carson looked considerably older than her years. She swayed a moment as she sat, drank in the briny air. To feel the full wildness, she switched off her flashlight. Then, adjusting her eyes to the darkness, she turned her attention to the swell and roar of the sea. Tonight it was full of “diamonds and emeralds,” flecks of phosphorescence that wave after wave hurled onto the sand. The individual sparks were huge. She could see them “glowing in the sand, or sometimes, caught in the in-and-out play of water,” sluicing back and forth.

This is what Carson lived for: bearing witness to the natural world in all its mystery, attuning herself to the earth’s rhythms and eternal cycles, feeling a part of the vast stream of time. It was why she’d spent the last four difficult years pushing so hard to complete Silent Spring. For all her travails, she had known from the moment she’d first read the field studies on the dangers of the synthetic pesticide DDT that she would feel “no future peace” until she shared with the world the gravity of what she saw. She had written the book because she wanted to change things, to alter the way people treated the natural world, to stop the mindless poisoning of it. Though Carson knew she had little time left to live, sitting on this beach tonight she had no regrets; she was filled with a sense that it had all been worth it: the years of isolation; the painstaking work; even her battle, now lost, against the cancer.

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