Louis Menand highlights an unusual twist to 1960s literature:
“The Feminine Mystique” did not recommend that women pursue full-time careers, or that they demand their legal rights. It only advised women to be prepared for life after the children left home. “The Silent Spring” did not call for a ban on pesticides. It only suggested that their use be regulated. These are books whose significance exceeds anything they actually said. For many people, it doesn’t even matter what they said or why they were written. What matters is that, when the world turned, they were there.