A classic of American environmentalism. Carson writes beautifully, using everything from apt metaphors to mythological references to convey the destructiveness of the pesticides that were commonly used in her time. Additionally, she makes arguments from both a conservationist and an economic angle, which should appeal to people across the political spectrum. Silent Spring pays pronounced attention to the insect world and will remain a book of significant interest to entomology enthusiasts.
Carson goes into great scientific detail about the implications of indiscriminate pesticide use. Some of the information is timeless, such as the excellent explanation in the chapter “Elixirs of Death” of how methane is modified to produce other chemical compounds, or the overarching theme of respect for ecology. Some very specific data regarding certain animal populations in 1962, for instance, may not be as relevant to the modern reader. The book is a product of its time, and some of the language has not aged well, particularly regarding people with disabilities.
An indisputably great work, but perhaps not a conventionally “fun” one, although I don't think it has to be. While it's interesting to read about the issues of Carson's time, reading Silent Spring made me more interested in reading about contemporary environmental issues.