Perhaps the finest nature writer of the Twentieth Century, Rachel Carson (1907-1964) is remembered more today as the woman who challenged the notion that humans could obtain mastery over nature by chemicals, bombs and space travel than for her studies of ocean life. Her sensational book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, and questioned the scope and direction of modern science, initiated the contemporary environmental movement.
Beatrix Potter, the twentieth century's most beloved children's writer and illustrator, created books that will forever conjure nature for millions. Yet though she is a household name around the world, her personal life and her other significant achievements remain largely unknown. This remarkable new biography is an exploration of the life and times of an extraordinary woman.
Potter's was, Linda Lear reveals, a life inspired and enriched by nature. Even as a child and a young woman, growing up in a wealthy, conventional London family, her imagination and artistic talent were fed by visits to the countryside. She found personal and financial freedom through nature, first as an artist and scientific illustrator, and then as the creator of the overnight bestseller Peter Rabbit which also revealed her to a far-sighted marketer and merchandiser. It was in the "little books" that led Beatrix to her first great love: her editor and publisher Norman Warne, who died tragically just a month after he proposed to her.