Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" describes how pesticides enter the food chain and accumulate in tissues of animals, causing cancer and genetic damage. The book also accuses the chemical industry of intentionally spreading incorrect information about the effects of pesticides. It condemns public officials for accepting industry claims at face value.
First published in serial form in The New Yorker in 1962, "Silent Spring" became the immediate target of the chemical industry, which touted the benefits of pesticides for agriculture and mocked Carson's doomsday scenario. The book proved to be convincing to most readers and soon became a bestseller. It helped launch the environmental movement of the 1960s and was instrumental in the movement to ban DDT use in the United States. Rachel Carson died of cancer in 1964, shortly after the release of "Silent Spring."