Section IV: Decision to Write a Book


An essay about Rachel Carson's decision to write a book.


Rachel Carson planned to complete the brief book by the summer of 1958. As she worked on it, she realized that the task she set out to complete was growing more complex each time she uncovered a new piece of information. She knew what her book needed to be. Science must be the base for her work. But she also needed to persuade.

In writing her book, Rachel Carson was in close contact with scientists in the US and Europe. She sifted through thousands of research papers and articles. Thus, she discovered those people who would be helpful based on the soundness of their knowledge.

In 1959 she shared with Clarence Cottam, her former superior in the US Fish and Wildlife Service, her concern on her project. Because the issue was so explosive and the pressures on the other side were so powerful, she felt that it was wiser to keep her own counsel until she was ready to launch her attack as a whole.(1)

  • (1)Graham, 28. (We have not used Rachel Carson's exact words because Fran Collins, the Trustee of Rachel Carson's estate, does not want any quotations from Carson to appear on the WWW. You may read her exact words in the source cited.)