84 books like A Sand County Almanac

By Aldo Leopold,

Here are 84 books that A Sand County Almanac fans have personally recommended if you like A Sand County Almanac. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Desert Solitaire

Maya Silver Author Of Moon Zion & Bryce: With Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante & Moab

From my list on featuring the American Southwest desert.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even though I’m from humid DC, I’ve been drawn to the desert since I first set foot there as a kid on a family road trip. Now, I’m lucky enough to live in Utah, home to some of the world’s most legendary desert landscapes. One reason I love the desert is the otherworldly scenery: uncanny arches, bizarre hoodoos, and sand dunes you could disappear into. Before your eyes, layers of geologic time unfold in epochs. The desert is a great place for contemplating the past and future—and for great adventures, with endless sandstone walls to climb, slick rock to bike, and sagebrush-lined trails to hike.

Maya's book list on featuring the American Southwest desert

Maya Silver Why did Maya love this book?

The late Edward Abbey might be a controversial figure, but you can’t write about desert literature without mentioning this iconic book.

In this book, Abbey captures his experience as a winter caretaker of Arches National Park (before it was a national park and before the road in was paved). In 18 chapters that read like short stories, he chronicles long days on horseback, jaw-dropping tales of flash floods, journeys up remote canyons, and more adventures that do an uncanny job of conveying the spirit of the desert and what it was like to explore it mid-century.

Abbey’s writing is blunt, colorful, and engaging, and this book is a romp of a read. 

By Edward Abbey,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Desert Solitaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'My favourite book about the wilderness' Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

In this shimmering masterpiece of American nature writing, Edward Abbey ventures alone into the canyonlands of Moab, Utah, to work as a seasonal ranger for the United States National Park Service.

Living out of a trailer, Abbey captures in rapt, poetic prose the landscape of the desert; a world of terracotta earth, empty skies, arching rock formations, cliffrose, juniper, pinyon pine and sand sage. His summers become spirit quests, taking him in search of wild horses and Ancient Puebloan petroglyphs, up mountains and across tribal lands, and down the…

Book cover of The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

John Sunderland Author Of On My Way to Jorvik: a humorous memoir of how a boy with a vision became a radical designer

From my list on books by descriptive popularists with humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a storyteller. I studied graphic design, animation, and film and became the title designer of Yorkshire Television’s game show 3*2*1 and directed an art-directed film and animation for British television and cinema. I was the Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre (1984). By 2008 I designed and built 25 award-winning cultural heritage centres and completed 150 international consultancies, producing and directing my exhibition documentaries. I learned how important writing was to my work. When it came down to it, whatever technique I used in the telling, there was always the story behind it as the way to transport the audience into a mentally immersive experience.

John's book list on books by descriptive popularists with humour

John Sunderland Why did John love this book?

I love Cape Cod and I was fortunate to live on the edge of the sea between 1997-2003. Skillfully written by one of America’s greatest writers of the natural habitat, it transports you to a place. It reminds me of what it felt like to live far out in Cape Cod on the North Atlantic at its furthest reach on the east coast of the United States. Living there for several years and spending time in nature with the sea, beach, dunes, and my bicycle, I learned to love its moods, wildlife, and great sense of mystery. I totally identified with this man’s extraordinary experience and how it was years ago. A wonderfully descriptive book that helps you experience with all your senses what it’s like to live next to the sea alone. 

By Henry Beston,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Outermost House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The seventy-fifth anniversary edition of the classic book about Cape Cod, "written with simplicity, sympathy, and beauty" (New York Herald Tribune)

A chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach, The Outermost House has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing. Henry Beston had originally planned to spend just two weeks in his seaside home, but was so possessed by the mysterious beauty of his surroundings that he found he "could not go."

Instead, he sat down to try and capture in words the wonders of the magical landscape he found himself in thrall…

Book cover of Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

Bill Murray Author Of Out in the Cold: Travels North: Adventures in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada

From my list on to understand the high north.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s nothing like personal experience. You have to read the literature, it’s true. That’s how we’ve all met here at Shepherd. But you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to visiting, too, if you want to write about travel. I first approached the Arctic in 1991 and I return above sixty degrees north every year, although I must confess to a secret advantage; I married a Finn. We spend summers at a little cabin north of Helsinki. I know the region personally, I keep coming back, and I invite you, whenever you can, to come up and join us!

Bill's book list on to understand the high north

Bill Murray Why did Bill love this book?

Barry Lopez was a nature writer and environmentalist.

He died on Christmas day 2020, and although we are fortunate to have his valedictory book Horizon, published when his traveling days were pretty well behind him, Arctic Dreams is the real deal, with Lopez as raconteur, but practitioner too, thoroughly in his element.

Lopez writes about exploration and the aurora, animals and the weather, ice and myth and survival and joy. He’s effortless. You’ll learn more than you knew there was to know about the high north, and the pleasure is in the learning.

If you must cut to the chase with these five books, Arctic Dreams is the book, because Barry Lopez got things right.

By Barry Lopez,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Arctic Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'A master nature writer' (New York Times) provides the ultimate natural, social and cultural history of the Arctic landscape.

The author of Horizon's classic work explores the Arctic landscape and the hold it continues to exert on our imagination.


Lopez's journey across our frozen planet is a celebration of the Arctic in all its guises. A hostile landscape of ice, freezing oceans and dazzling skyscapes. Home to millions of diverse animals and people. The stage to massive migrations by land, sea and air. The setting of epic exploratory…

Book cover of Under the Sea-Wind

William Stolzenburg Author Of Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

From my list on nature by naturalists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Will Stolzenburg writes about wild things, with particular focus on great predators and the vanishing places they inhabit. A wildlife biologist and magazine editor in former lives, he has since written three non-fiction books concerning those irreplaceable predators, plus a children’s story about a dog with a magically happy tail that's pretty close to true.

William's book list on nature by naturalists

William Stolzenburg Why did William love this book?

Rachel Carson will forever be known for Silent Spring, her courageous, farsighted warning of our pesticidal poisoning of the world. But it was her three ocean-oriented books preceding Silent Spring that best showcase her artistic melding of meticulous research with her wide-eyed sense of wonder. And none more so than Under The Sea Wind, her first and most intimate work, tracing the seasonal travails of fish and shorebirds—living, heroic creatures we come to know by name—through their inspiring, interlocking circles of life.

By Rachel Carson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Sea-Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Under the Sea-Wind" presents a naturalist's picture of ocean life. This book is her breathtaking canvas of the fierce, competitive struggle for life takes place along the shore, in the open sea, and along the sea bottom.

Book cover of The Voyage of the Beagle

David Horwell Author Of Galapagos Wildlife

From my list on the Galápagos Islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up near Darwin’s house in Kent. Although only vaguely aware of his influence. My interest grew as I studied biology at school and geology at university. The evolutionary significance of Darwin’s finches stayed with me. I longed to sail in tropical waters like him and was fortunate enough to do so in the iconic Galápagos Islands. I was employed as a resident naturalist guide on yachts when tourism was just starting to take off. Instead of settling down to a regular job I became a tour leader. I wrote an educational book about the islands and then with a colleague Pete Oxford, the wildlife guide for Bradt.

David's book list on the Galápagos Islands

David Horwell Why did David love this book?

Darwin was chosen to accompany Captain FitzRoy on this voyage of exploration and science. Though Galápagos only represented five weeks of a five-year journey, it is the most significant chapter.

His journal takes us around the world as Darwin describes the natural history of the tropics and their relationship to the earth. He realised that isolated forms on archipelagos distil the process of natural selection. He was fascinated by the reptiles, especially the unique marine iguanas. Later the study of collected bird species brought him closer to his ideas on evolution.

Having lived on the islands, I am impressed by how much he observed in such a short time. He taught me how geology, climate and flora and fauna all play an important role in the natural world. It made me realise the value of patient observation.

By Charles Darwin,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Voyage of the Beagle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction by David Amigoni.

Charles Darwin's travels around the world as an independent naturalist on HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836 impressed upon him a sense of the natural world's beauty and sublimity which language could barely capture. Words, he said, were inadequate to convey to those who have not visited the inter-tropical regions, the sensation of delight which the mind experiences'.

Yet in a travel journal which takes the reader from the coasts and interiors of South America to South Sea Islands, Darwin's descriptive powers are constantly challenged, but never once overcome. In addition, The Voyage of…

Book cover of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a highly experienced outdoorsman, musician, songwriter, and backcountry guide who chose teaching as a day job. As a writer, however, I am a promoter of creative and literary nonfiction, especially nonfiction that features a thematic thread, whether it be philosophical, conservation, historical, or even unique experiential. The thread I used for thirty years of teaching high school and honors English was the thread of Conservation, as exemplified by authors like Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward O. Wilson, Al Gore, Henry David Thoreau, as well as many other more contemporary authors.

Mark's book list on creative nonfiction books that entertain and teach through threaded essays and stories

Mark Doherty Why did Mark love this book?

Reading Terry Tempest Williams’ book brought me an intimate awareness of the magical beauty of The Great Salt Lake ecosystem and its abundant, fascinating bird life, while at the same time, the book educated me about the long-term impacts on both wildlife and human life from all who lived downwind of the 1950’s Western nuclear weapons testing and development.

I loved the themes of wild bird habitats and migratory bird refuges that ran throughout the book, and I truly felt the emotive connection that Williams created between wild birds and human lives.

The honesty about increased cancer rates and the ultimate death of her mother added a poignant, bittersweet element that brought me to emotional tears as well.

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Refuge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms…

Book cover of The Control of Nature

Jordan Fisher Smith Author Of Engineering Eden: A Violent Death, a Federal Trial, and the Struggle to Restore Nature in Our National Parks

From my list on living with the threat of environmental collapse.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jordan Fisher Smith spent 21 years as a park and wilderness ranger. He is the author of the ranger memoir Nature Noir, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice. His second book Engineering Eden won a 2017 California Book Award and was longlisted for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. He has also written for The New Yorker, Men’s Journal, Discover, and others and was a principal cast member and narrator of the film Under Our Skin, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Jordan's book list on living with the threat of environmental collapse

Jordan Fisher Smith Why did Jordan love this book?

In a series of long-form journalist pieces, McPhee visits places where human beings are at war with natural forces: the long attempt to control the course of the Mississippi River and its floods, Icelanders trying to control lava flows with hoses, and a system of hardened channels and containments for massive mud and debris flows pouring down from the mountains behind Los Angeles. McPhee is at the height of his powers in this book, with his acerbic wit allowing the heroic futility of these manipulations to speak for itself.

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Control of Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Control of Nature is John McPhee's bestselling account of places where people are locked in combat with nature. Taking us deep into these contested territories, McPhee details the strageties and tactics through which people attempt to control nature. Most striking is his depiction of the main contestants: nature in complex and awesome guises, and those attempting to wrest control from her - stubborn, sometimes foolhardy, more often ingenious, and always arresting characters.

Book cover of The End of Nature

Todd Dufresne Author Of The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene

From my list on how bad climate change is for life on Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Climate Studies is a massive, cross-disciplinary field that exceeds the grasp of everyone involved, myself included. I start from my home discipline, philosophy, and follow the leads wherever they take me—a practice I learned from decades as a Freud scholar. The climate books I admire most are those that take this vast literature and synthesize the issues. This means I admire and respect the work being done by smart journalists like McKibben, Klein, and Wallace-Wells, who are perfect jumping-off points to thinking carefully about the future of life today. They are the ‘journalist-philosophers’ who are attempting these essential first drafts of history. Start with them and see where it all leads. 

Todd's book list on how bad climate change is for life on Earth

Todd Dufresne Why did Todd love this book?

McKibben is an American journalist, researcher, and founder of the environmental organization 350.org. His End of Nature is one of the first trade books to address climate change. Written in clear, accessible language, McKibben argues that nature has been thoroughly subjected to human forces that forever undermine traditional views of an environment set apart, pristine and original, from the things we have done to it. The biggest thing we’ve done is increase the average temperature above industrial norms, and this book is a classic framing of this issue. 

By Bill McKibben,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The End of Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the earliest warnings about climate change and one of environmentalism's lodestars

'Nature, we believe, takes forever. It moves with infinite slowness,' begins the first book to bring climate change to public attention.

Interweaving lyrical observations from his life in the Adirondack Mountains with insights from the emerging science, Bill McKibben sets out the central developments not only of the environmental crisis now facing us but also the terms of our response, from policy to the fundamental, philosophical shift in our relationship with the natural world which, he argues, could save us. A moving elegy to nature in its…

Book cover of Propaganda

Renee Hobbs Author Of Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age

From my list on understanding propaganda and persuasion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with propaganda and persuasion since childhood. Growing up in Detroit, our family would watch both American and Canadian TV channels. The TV commercials shown on the American TV channels were noisier, nosier, zanier, and more intrusive than the more sedate and polite forms of persuasion on Canadian shows. Because advertising and propaganda are kissing cousins, I've always appreciated how they shape politics, journalism, entertainment, activism, education, and the arts. Propaganda's greatest (and most dangerous) power is its ability to both unify and divide people, and there's never been a more important time to look carefully at how propaganda is shaping our understanding of reality through the many screens in our lives.

Renee's book list on understanding propaganda and persuasion

Renee Hobbs Why did Renee love this book?

There’s no magic wand, no defensive armor, vaccine, or potion that can inoculate people against the influence of propaganda. But learning about propaganda is essential for people of all ages who want to hold on to their democracy in the face of threats. What will surprise you when you read this classic work, written in 1928, is how timely it remains. Bernays anticipates the rise of influencers and memes because he knows that people rely on thought leaders for most of their opinions and beliefs about the world. But the most important feature of this book is what he has to say about propaganda and democracy. Bernays convinces you that propaganda is not inherently evil, and he even makes the case that propaganda is necessary for democratic societies to flourish. 

By Edward Bernays,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Propaganda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Bernays’ honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies.”—Noam Chomsky

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”—Edward Bernays

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891–1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed “engineering of…

Book cover of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Becky Lomax Author Of Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 63 Parks

From my list on US national parks from science to thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up hiking and camping with my family in the national parks of Washington. Isn’t that what everyone did in summer? Later, I learned how wrong I was. That most people had never seen a glacier, stood on a mountaintop, walked through a rainforest, gazed at the size of a grizzly, skied past erupting geysers, or rafted a rushing river. These experiences have shaped who I am. I return to the haunts of national parks, from deserts to mountains and remote islands, because they wow me and feed my soul. 

Becky's book list on US national parks from science to thrillers

Becky Lomax Why did Becky love this book?

After I backpacked the Inner Canyon and Tonto Trail for 10 days in Grand Canyon, I longed for a book like this: one that would wrap the massive creation of the Grand Canyon into a compelling story and explore the depth of human connection. Fedarko adeptly weaves in history, geology, environmental concerns, wildlife, flora, Indigenous culture, and climate around a thrilling dory adventure on the Colorado River—so much so that you feel you really know the park. To pair reading it with hiking or boating into the inner canyon yields an immersive experience where you can see, touch, and breathe much of what he describes. This book is always my first recommendation for anyone headed to Grand Canyon, and I’ll re-read it again during my next Grand Canyon visit.

By Kevin Fedarko,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Emerald Mile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of Outside magazine’s “Literary All-Stars” comes the thrilling true tale of the fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983.

In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the…

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