Book Schedule for April Discussion

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. 40th Anniversary Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Moderators: Thomas R. Dunlap and Mark Madison

Weekly Schedule:

Week I - April 1-8:
Chapters 1-3
These chapters set the stage for everything. "The Fable" (Chapter One) describes our possible future, "The Obligation to Endure" (Chapter Two) strikes some important notes: mainly the importance of the long view of the interaction between "living things and their environment," and our recent gaining of unprecedented power over nature, now exercised without much control; while "Elixirs of Death" (Chapter Three) describes the new chemicals and the state of our knowledge about them, including such things as bioconcentration and persistence.

Week II - April 8-15
Chapters 4-11
Here Carson details the known impacts of current practices and use on the world outside of our bodies. These deal with environments like soil and water, overuse in spraying programs, and the extent of damages. They reinforce the concerns above about our unprecedented power and Carson's condemnation of carelessness in throwing these things around.

Week III - April 15-21
Chapters 12-14
This section might take its title from that of Chapter 12,"The Human Price." These are the most speculative but also some of the most powerful, for they had the least established scientific information to back them up and the most emotional content, for here she spoke of how chemicals introduced into the environmental came into our bodies and those of our children.

Week IV - April 21-29
Chapters 15-17
These chapters deal with the futility of the chemical barrage (forinsects adapt quickly, far more quickly than humans or animals can), the growing indications that the chemicals have begun to produce just that effect, and the alternatives, which rested on biological understanding, no physiological knowledge of insects, and accepted our need to live with as well as from nature rather than trying to conquer it.

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