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rachel-carson

Her story is inspirational; she was a woman who through hard work, diligence, an unlimited appetite for information, and a modest talent made herself a voice heard round the world.  On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, by William Souder, describes a life always in a struggle against something, either early childhood poverty, limited employment opportunities for women, modest pay for women, a dependent family, or finally failing health.  She met it all with an uncommon grit and grace.

Her story is cautionary.  The same governmental bureaucracy that impeded her work, and abetted the chemical catastrophe she exposed in Silent Spring is still protecting its own bare ass instead of caring about the public good.  The same business interests are at work purchasing influence and dictating public policy that encouraged unlimited nuclear testing and insecticide poisoning of our environment during her life.  We have the same buffoons elected to represent us now as then.  Support for education and research is unimportant to them as it does not contribute to their reelection coffers.  Super PACs are now our masters.

Souder gives us a real person.  In reading the biography, it is easy to imagine you know her and understand her decisions.  You experience the constraints she overcomes, and appreciate her approach to work which would have been maddening if you were her work partner.  Though her loneliness is painful, it is hard to imagine her working in tandem with another.  Her late in life encounter with Dorothy Freeman is a fully earned reward.

For grit and grace, you cannot go wrong admiring Rachel Carson.  Charles Marlin

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