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Classic Non-fiction

May 2, 2013

ImageMost of us have read at least one “classic” work of fiction.  Novels like Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, or Ellison’s The Invisible Man are often considered part of the American literary cannon, and appear on on may must-read book lists.  However, in addition to these fiction works, there are also many non-fiction titles to add to your list.  Here are just two non-fiction works from the Science and Technology Department that record significant events, ideas, and discoveries in American history.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, 1962

Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist and a writer.  Her writings, especially Silent Spring, were instrumental in starting the environmental movement in America, and banning the use of the pesticide, DDT.  Silent Spring details ways in which chemicals from pesticides are damaging to wildlife, and imagines a dystopian world in which wildlife has nearly vanished.

The Double Helix by James Watson, 1968

James D. Watson, along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.  The award recognized their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of DNA.  The Double Helix is Watson’s autobiographical account of the discovery.  In 2012, the book was named as one of 88 “Books that Shaped America” by the Library of Congress.

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