Reviews for Rachel Carson : A Twentieth-century Life


Booklist Reviews 2007 February #2
/*Starred Review*/ Direct, eloquent, and precise, this biography in the Up Close series offers an intimate portrait of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson. In well-paced chapters filled with relevant quotes, Levine traces how Carson's passion for the science of living things, which began during her rural youth, developed into an astonishing career that helped make careful stewardship of Earth a national issue. Throughout, Levine emphasizes the prevailing attitudes toward women's roles and how Carson was able to overcome those limiting expectations to break ground and become such an effective voice for environmental concerns. A few of the scattered black-and-white photos and drawings show Carson in the field; source notes and a bibliography close. A balanced, thoroughly researched introduction to an original scientist whose work remains of urgent importance today. ((Reviewed February 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Not your average biographies, these are meaty fare, sure to satisfy readers (even reluctant ones) looking for something more than a hero portrait. Most riveting is [cf2]Cash[cf1]; least accessible is [cf2]Carson[cf1]. Honest and engaging, all four volumes include forewords explaining what drew each author to the subject, black-and-white photographs, and source notes. Websites. Bib., ind. [Review covers these titles: [cf2]Up Close: Robert F. Kennedy[cf1], [cf2]Up Close: Oprah Winfrey[cf1], [cf2]Up Close: Rachel Carson[cf1], and [cf2]Up Close: Johnny Cash[cf1].] Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
Not your average biographies, these are meaty fare, sure to satisfy readers (even reluctant ones) looking for something more than a hero portrait. Most riveting is [cf2]Cash[cf1]; least accessible is [cf2]Carson[cf1]. Honest and engaging, all four volumes include forewords explaining what drew each author to the subject, black-and-white photographs, and source notes. Websites. Bib., ind. [Review covers these titles: [cf2]Up Close: Robert F. Kennedy[cf1], [cf2]Up Close: Oprah Winfrey[cf1], [cf2]Up Close: Rachel Carson[cf1], and [cf2]Up Close: Johnny Cash[cf1].] Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 April #1
The combination of Rachel Carson's gift for writing with her passion for science and understanding the natural world catapulted her into prominence with the publication of Silent Spring, truly one of those books that changed the world. Levine shares much of the facts of her personal life in a way that makes obvious how family challenges and difficulties were always a priority. She conveys Carson's influence when she relates the professional events, but most vivid are the quotes from her public and personal writing, revealing a powerful intelligence, wit and beauty. There is humor and deprecation of herself as Carson remains modestly unconvinced of her power to change the world, even as she fought cancer while trying to advocate for a new awareness of the interdependence of man and nature. The contrast between the liveliness and elegance of Carson's words with Levine's respectful and honest reportage amplifies the reader's admiration for a woman who cared for her friends and family, yet dedicated her life to making the world a better place. (Biography. 10+) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 April

Gr 6-9-- Levine describes how Carson's childhood, strong relationship with a supportive mother, and lifelong love of nature influenced her decision to become a biologist and later made her an environmental pioneer. The author draws on numerous primary sources to document the scientist's life and provides considerable information about her education and early career as well as the work that made her famous. She details how Carson's determination helped her overcome many obstacles, including financial struggles, gender discrimination, and family crises, and describes her long and courageous battle with the cancer that ended her life. Levine also analyzes how the woman's work contributed to a greater public understanding of the dangers of pollutants and became the impetus for the environmental movement and related federal laws. Levine is admiring of her subject; she includes a quote comparing the impact of Carson's work with that of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin , which President Lincoln credited with starting the Civil War. Average-quality black-and-white photos supplement the text and there are extensive notes and an annotated bibliography with a wide variety of sources. This book provides more detail about Carson's personal life than George Shea's Rachel Carson: Founder of the Environmental Movement (Gale, 2005), which is shorter and more focused on her career and impact on environmentalism. This is an excellent choice for those who want to learn more about the woman behind the legend.--Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO

[Page 162]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2007 June
These short biographies of twentieth-century lives are captivating in their down-to-earth readability and compassionate narrations. Levine's sympathetic accounting of Rachel Carson's story presents how the first of a family to graduate college became author of "one of the most influential books in the modern world." Carson's devotion to her family and work are explained as so all-consuming that she died a spinster, never having had time to marry. Ever conscious of the music of language, Carson rendered her meticulous scientific research accessible to the layperson through poetic prose that enchanted the average reader, providing a respite from the mounting tensions of the nuclear age. More than maintaining her lifelong sense of wonder for the natural world, Carson effectively shared it with the populace through understandable prose both serialized in magazines and published in books. Her crowning achievement, The Silent Spring, a book detailing the dangers of pesticide overuse, brought the shy scientist into the public sphere where she was hailed by the average reader and vilified by chemical corporations, inspiring the environmental movement. Levine's riveting account credits one unassuming woman with extraordinary accomplishments Similarly Hampton paints Elvis Presley's life as one of extraordinary talent raised from small-town limitations to the height of stardom, ever focusing on the goodness of the man through his tumultuous life, even as his weakness and addiction destroyed the rock 'n' roll legend. Beginning with a personal vignette of his own rock 'n' roll conversion and employing some of youth's euphemisms-Hampton describes Elvis and his early love Dixie as "going together" and deciding to "not go all the way" before marriage-Hampton relates how the polite and truthful youth who "just wanted to please people" unwittingly transformed into a musical phenomenon and continued to become a drug-addicted has-been performing often without joy, and at the end, even with maliceThroughout, each author speaks to the subject's ability to balance family and professional pressures. They combine a sympathetic tone with accessible writing and a small finished book size, making the series appealing to readers grade seven and up. Other figures profiled in this series are Robert F. Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, and Johnny Cash.-Cynthia Winfield Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.

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