Lytle, Mark H.

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Lytle, Mark H.

(Mark Hamilton Lytle)


Education: Cornell University, B.A.; Yale University, M.Phil., Ph.D.


Office—Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000. E-mail—[email protected]


University College, Dublin, Ireland, Mary Ball Professor of American History; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, professor of history and environmental studies, chair of the American Studies Program, director of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program. Member of scholars panel of the Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt Institute.


Grants from the Council on International Relations, Kellogg Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities; Horace Kidger Distinguished Scholar Award, New England Social Studies Council, 1989; Fulbright scholar, 2001.


(With James West Davidson) After the Fact: American Historians and Their Methods, Knopf (New York, NY), 1981, published as After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, 1982, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill (Boston, MA), 2004.

(With James West Davidson) The United States: A History of the Republic, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1981, 5th edition, 1990.

(With Dixon MacD. Merkt) Shang: A Biography of Charles E. Wheeler, Hillcrest Publications (Spanish Fork, UT), 1984.

(With James West Davidson and John E. Batchelor) A History of the Republic, two volumes, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1986.

The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953, Holmes & Meier (New York, NY), 1987.

(With James West Davidson and Michael B. Stoff) American Journey: The Quest for Liberty since 1865, Prentice Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1992.

America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era: From Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring," and the Rise of the Environmental Movement ("Narratives in American History" series), Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including Middle East Journal, Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Political Science Quarterly, and Hudson Valley Review. Member of the editorial board of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.


Mark H. Lytle, a professor of history and environmental studies, has written or cowritten many volumes of history and a biography of our most notable environmentalist. The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring," and the Rise of the Environmental Movement was published in celebration of the centennial of Carson's birth and is a study of the advances made by the woman who exposed the ongoing degradation of the planet through the use of chemicals, including pesticides. Lytle writes: "Carson offered a scathing critique of corporate responsibility, misguided science, and government complicity in what amounted to a pollution scandal. Ecology was subversive because it put nature rather than humans at the center of a living world in which everything is connected to everything else."

Marine biologist Carson wrote three books about the ocean, including The Sea Around Us, before publishing her landmark Silent Spring in 1962. The book is best remembered for its warning about DDT, which was banned in the United States in 1972, largely because of Carson's warnings, but which was manufactured and exported for many years after. Carson wrote of the dangers of other pesticides and of human impact on the ecosystem, but, unfortunately, these warnings have not been heeded to the same degree. Carson, who was condemned by many for suggesting that they did not have the right to do what they wished with their property, died of cancer after the publication of Silent Sprint, but before she would see the impact it would have for generations to come.

Lytle writes of her life as a woman scientist in a male-dominated field and notes that she supported her family and often had to reprioritize her work to care for her ill mother. "Lytle's greatest contribution is letting Carson speak for herself," wrote Valerie Weaver-Zercher in the Christian Century. "Her words are so germane to our ecological situation … that they require very little commentary. ‘We haven't become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe,’ Carson said in a television broadcast after Silent Spring was published. ‘I think we're challenged as mankind has never been challenged before, to prove our maturity and our mastery not of nature, but of ourselves.’"



Audubon, September 1, 2007, Frank Graham, review of The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring," and the Rise of the Environmental Movement, p. 106.

Christian Century, May 1, 2007, Valerie Weaver-Zercher, review of The Gentle Subversive, p. 52.

Esprit De Corps, May, 2006, review of America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era: From Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon, p. 46.

Library Journal, February 1, 2007, Patricia Ann Owens, review of The Gentle Subversive, p. 94.


Bard College Web site, (September 29, 2007), brief biography.

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