“Environmentalism” and “going green” are so pervasive today it’s hard to imagine a time when those concepts were largely absent from popular discourse. When Rachel Carson released Silent Spring 50 years ago, it changed everything; not just for Carson, whose already-successful career took a dramatic turn, but for the emergence of the modern environmental movement.

William Souder’s insightful portrait of Carson, On a Farther Shore, is an account of her life and work, but it’s also a vital addition to our understanding of the current environmental crisis.