Silent Spring wasn't Rachel Carson's first book, but it was undoubtably her most influential. It quickly found its way up the New York Times best-seller list after its publication in 1962. Carson first became aware of the dangers of reckless pesticide use in the '40s after DDT spraying campaigns were begun as part of the Pacific war effort, and she spent much of the '50s gathering research and speaking out about the issue.
Predictably, the chemical and pesticide industry strongly opposed (and continues to oppose) the assertions put forth in Silent Spring. In particular, agricultural company Monsanto was accused of waging an all-out war on the author, spending money and energy to discredit Carson and her work. The book inspired millions of people to recognize the toll humans take on the environment and inspired thousands of journalists to turn their attention to environmental issues.