When Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring was published in 1962, the United States was the world’s leading superpower and industrial powerhouse. A warning about the long-term dangers of pesticides, the book became a phenomenon, sparking a nationwide debate that featured vigorous attacks by the chemical industry and influencing President John F. Kennedy to launch an investigation into the public health effects. In the end, Silent Spring effectively launched the modern environmental movement.
“Despite her fame, Rachel Carson has remained an enigmatic figure,” said Mark Samels, American Experience Executive Producer. “At a time when she was keeping her own illness secret, this shy, private woman was thrust into the limelight after writing Silent Spring. In the ’60s, chemicals were everywhere — in food, in crops, in everything. Carson was the first person to point out there’s a price to be paid for that world. She guided us towards an understanding of the interrelatedness of nature, and challenged us to think about our impact on the world around us. And that is certainly something that resonates as strongly today as it did 50 years ago. We’re honored to be telling her story and have Mary-Louise Parker bring her words to life.”
“Rachel Carson was heroic and undaunted in her quest to make us reconsider the fragility of this planet,” said Parker. “I hope this film grants deserved credit to her legacy, and that viewers will be as amazed and entranced with her story as I am.
”Rachel Carson premieres tonight (Tuesday, January 24th), at 8pm ET on DPTV. To learn more about the film, visit http://pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience.