Rachel L. Carson (1907-64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. Her first book, Under the Sea Wind, appeared in 1941. Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the dangers of the misuse of pesticides, was published in 1962. Carson's articles on natural history appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Holiday. An ardent ecologist and preservationist, Carson warned against the dumping of atomic waste at sea and predicted global warming. Rachel Carson died of cancer at the age of 56. Linda Lear has always been intrigued by how the lives of artists and writers have been influenced by the natural world. She discovered quite by accident that before Beatrix Potter began her legendary series of 'little books' for children she had been an avid student of natural history. A professor of environmental history and author of the prize-winning biography Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, Lear is an enthusiastic horticulturalist and collector of botanical art. She and her husband live in Bethesda, Maryland. Linda Lear's latest title, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature is published by Penguin.