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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers Rachel Carson

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The Consequences of Silent Spring

Carson was right about her critics. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking her personally and trying to discredit her claims. She was called "a bird lover--a cat lover--a fish lover, a priestess of nature..." as well as an hysterical woman and a poor scientist. Even before Silent Spring came out, an agricultural trade organization distributed counterarguments to Carson's main points.

Carson was prepared for this kind of criticism. Before her book was published, it had been reviewed by many scientists and experts. Carson knew her claims were scientifically sound. Other critics misrepresented her claims. One chemical company wrote their own book called The Desolate Year. It was the story of how terrible the world would be if pesticides didn't exist, even though Carson had never said that pesticides should be eliminated entirely. Carson believed that pesticides should be used appropriately by educated professionals. The criticisms did not stop Silent Spring from becoming a success. Carson's writing was so understandable and her topic so compelling that the book quickly became a best-seller.

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