A book to change my thinking

Quote: "Carson's book has changed the world" The Times: re Dr Rachel Carson's 1962 non-fiction, Silent Spring.  Oh yes it has, but not enough; not nearly enough.

I first read this wonderful masterwork in the early 60's but was last month given a modern edition of it as a Christmas gift. As you will gather from the author's preface to my 'Going with Gabriel', as reproduced below, I was then and still am very much affected by this literary diatribe against the massive proliferation in the use by agriculture of chlorinated hydrocarbons, principally DDT at the time. 

The good news is that, in spite of the chemical industry's orchestrated, high volume howl of ridicule, DDT* has long been de-legalised. However, sad to say many, many others have taken its place. And now we are even modifying the very stuff of the life that feeds us. Blind stupidity, and for what? Money, folks, good old, don't argue against it money. Cancers produced for money kill more people and induce more human agony than all the wars in all the history of Mankind added up together.

The links between man-made chemicals and the various cancers were well theorised in Dr Carson's book and to this day have not been denied, but still we carry on with them on the grounds that they help us to feed our ever growing numbers.
 Author’s note

You might wonder what or who could have inspired a man, an old man you might say, to forego the attractions of retirement in favour of enduring the long agonies and occasional ecstasies of writing and getting into print and selling his novels. Well, there are these 

Professor Logan Pearsall-Smith

author in 1933 of On Reading Shakespeare

who showed me why the choice and arrangement of words

can be worth more than the story; more, in fact, than anything.

Doctor Rachel Carson

author in 1962 of Silent Spring

who taught me that the story is often of greater importance

than the words for the wellbeing of this wonderful new species called Mankind.

Mister Ernest Hemingway,

author in 1940 of For Whom The Bell Tolls,

whose words and whose story combined to demonstrate,

to me anyway, that fiction, perhaps more than anything else

can fly straight and true enough to reach the human soul,

wherever she may live.

These works and these writers amongst many others have been and are my personal inspiration. That is, of course, along with the heartfelt wish that you, yourself, will find some real interest, some satisfaction and even some joy in this well-beloved child of my imagination. One thing seems self-evident: should it happen for enough of us we can indeed find that different way to go, that better way to be.

Bryan Islip


Going with Gabriel is fiction and is, I hope you would agree, an exciting read in its own right. But its  theme of population growth is, as I said, the raison d'etre for the proliferated used of noxious, unnatural chemicals. Put simply, there are now too many of us on planet earth to sustain ourselves without them. So, chicken and egg, right? And in this case egg comes first.

* In 1939 the discoverer of DDT, Dr Paul Muller of Switzerland, received the Nobel Prize for his work! 

Footnote: Dr Carson died of Cancer, aged 58.

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