100 books like Arming Mother Nature

By Jacob Darwin Hamblin,

Here are 100 books that Arming Mother Nature fans have personally recommended if you like Arming Mother Nature. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward An Environmental History of War

Simo Laakkonen Author Of The Long Shadows: A Global Environmental History of the Second World War

From my list on the environmental history of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simo Laakkonen is director of Degree Program in Digital Culture, Landscape and Cultural Heritage, University of Turku, Finland. He is an environmental historian who has specialized among other things on the global environmental history of warfare during Industrial Age. He has coedited on this theme two special issues and three books, the latest one is The Resilient City in World War II: Urban Environmental Histories. He has selected five books that cover some main phases of the long environmental history of wars and mass violence.

Simo's book list on the environmental history of war

Simo Laakkonen Why did Simo love this book?

How has war changed and damaged the environment?

How has nature influenced war and how have these changes presented? These kinds of basic questions make everyone interested in environmental history of war think.

This comprehensive book is easy to read but it provides valuable insights to the interaction between societies and nature from pre-colonial India to post-war Japan and serves as an excellent introduction to the field.

By Richard Tucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Natural Enemy, Natural Ally as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Contributors to this volume explore the dynamic between war and the physical environment from a variety of provocative viewpoints. The subjects of their essays range from conflicts in colonial India and South Africa to the U.S. Civil War and twentieth-century wars in Japan, Finland, and the Pacific Islands. Among the topics explored are: - the ways in which landscape can influence military strategies - why the decisive battle of the American Civil War was fought - the impact of war and peace on timber resources - the spread of pests and disease in wartime.


Book cover of The Environmental Legacy of War on the Hungarian-Ottoman Frontier, c. 1540-1690

Simo Laakkonen Author Of The Long Shadows: A Global Environmental History of the Second World War

From my list on the environmental history of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simo Laakkonen is director of Degree Program in Digital Culture, Landscape and Cultural Heritage, University of Turku, Finland. He is an environmental historian who has specialized among other things on the global environmental history of warfare during Industrial Age. He has coedited on this theme two special issues and three books, the latest one is The Resilient City in World War II: Urban Environmental Histories. He has selected five books that cover some main phases of the long environmental history of wars and mass violence.

Simo's book list on the environmental history of war

Simo Laakkonen Why did Simo love this book?

Numerous military campaigns launched by Muslim forces to conquer and control Southern and Central Europe continued in some form ultimately over one thousand years.

Despite this hardly any studies have attempted to explore this long and tragic epoch from an environmental point of view.

Fortunately András Vadas, an Assistant Professor of Medieval History in Budapest, provides rare insights into the ways how the Ottoman–Hungarian wars affected societies and nature of the Carpathian Basin in the early modern period Europe.

By Andras Vadas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Environmental Legacy of War on the Hungarian-Ottoman Frontier, c. 1540-1690 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the first monographic attempt to follow the environmental changes that took place in the frontier zone of the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. On the one hand, it looks at how the Ottoman-Hungarian wars affected the landscapes of the Carpathian Basin - specifically, the frontier zone. On the other hand, it examines how the environment was used in the military tactics of the opposing realms. By taking into consideration both perspectives, this book intends to pursue the dynamic interplay between war, environment, and local society in the early modern…


Book cover of Landscapes of the First World War

Simo Laakkonen Author Of The Long Shadows: A Global Environmental History of the Second World War

From my list on the environmental history of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simo Laakkonen is director of Degree Program in Digital Culture, Landscape and Cultural Heritage, University of Turku, Finland. He is an environmental historian who has specialized among other things on the global environmental history of warfare during Industrial Age. He has coedited on this theme two special issues and three books, the latest one is The Resilient City in World War II: Urban Environmental Histories. He has selected five books that cover some main phases of the long environmental history of wars and mass violence.

Simo's book list on the environmental history of war

Simo Laakkonen Why did Simo love this book?

Numerous books have been written about the slaughter of millions of young men in mud and blood during the First World War.

This is the first book that focuses on the other main actor and victim of this conflict, that is, landscapes.

This coherent and transnational study offers interesting perspectives on how landscapes of war were idealized, mobilized, destroyed, and then remembered around the world. 

By Selena Daly (editor), Martina Salvante (editor), Vanda Wilcox (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Landscapes of the First World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This comparative and transnational study of landscapes in the First World War offers new perspectives on the ways in which landscapes were idealised, mobilised, interpreted, exploited, transformed and destroyed by the conflict. The collection focuses on four themes: environment and climate, industrial and urban landscapes, cross-cultural encounters, and legacies of the war. The chapters cover Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and the US, drawing on a range of approaches including battlefield archaeology, military history, medical humanities, architecture, literary analysis and environmental history.

This volume explores the environmental impact of the war on diverse landscapes and how landscapes shaped soldiers'…


Book cover of The Ecology of War in China: Henan Province, the Yellow River, and Beyond, 1938-1950

Simo Laakkonen Author Of The Long Shadows: A Global Environmental History of the Second World War

From my list on the environmental history of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simo Laakkonen is director of Degree Program in Digital Culture, Landscape and Cultural Heritage, University of Turku, Finland. He is an environmental historian who has specialized among other things on the global environmental history of warfare during Industrial Age. He has coedited on this theme two special issues and three books, the latest one is The Resilient City in World War II: Urban Environmental Histories. He has selected five books that cover some main phases of the long environmental history of wars and mass violence.

Simo's book list on the environmental history of war

Simo Laakkonen Why did Simo love this book?

Historiography of the Second World War has traditionally focused on European powers and/or the United States while such major actors as the Soviet Union and China have been largely neglected.

Dr. Muscolino’s book approaches the long Second World War in China by examining the interplay between landscapes, rural society, and “hydraulic warfare” in Henan Province in the central part of the country.

Here the Nationalist government in 1938 deliberately destroyed a dam in the Yellow River, which caused a catastrophic flood and famine that had long socioenvironmental percussions in Chinese society until Mao’s era.  

By Micah S. Muscolino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ecology of War in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book explores the interplay between war and environment in Henan Province, a hotly contested frontline territory that endured massive environmental destruction and human disruption during the conflict between China and Japan during World War II. In a desperate attempt to block Japan's military advance, Chinese Nationalist armies under Chiang Kai-shek broke the Yellow River's dikes in Henan in June 1938, resulting in devastating floods that persisted until after the war's end. Greater catastrophe struck Henan in 1942-3, when famine took some two million lives and displaced millions more. Focusing on these war-induced disasters and their aftermath, this book conceptualizes…


Book cover of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

M. Girard Dorsey Author Of Holding Their Breath: How the Allies Confronted the Threat of Chemical Warfare in World War II

From my list on World War II that make you wonder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Imagine World War II—with frequent chemical warfare attacks on cities and battlefields. Before and during World War II, laypeople and leaders held the widespread conviction that poison gas would be used in the next big war more destructively than in World War I. Churchill considered using gas if Germany invaded Britain. Roosevelt promised retaliation if the Axis used gas. Canada tested gas in Alberta’s fields. Fear and preparation for gas attacks permeated multiple countries, from laypeople to the top, from civilians to the military, but few talk about it. This is a hidden story of World War II, but one worth knowing. Just the threat of gas influenced the conflict.

M.'s book list on World War II that make you wonder

M. Girard Dorsey Why did M. love this book?

The author does not pull any punches. She investigates the Japanese path to the Pearl Harbor attack, from cultural constraints that made it challenging to resist the drift to war to personality assessments that help make sense of the decisions to strike the US, even when war games demonstrated that the country could not win a confrontation.

Despite knowing the outcome of the attack, the story is so well told that delving into the steps toward conflict is engrossing. The book makes you wonder: What might have stopped the attack? If we knew then what we know now, would the attack at Pearl Harbor have been a surprise?  

By Eri Hotta,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Japan 1941 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking history that considers the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective and is certain to revolutionize how we think of the war in the Pacific.

When Japan launched hostilities against the United States in 1941, argues Eri Hotta, its leaders, in large part, understood they were entering a war they were almost certain to lose. Drawing on material little known to Western readers, and barely explored in depth in Japan itself, Hotta poses an essential question: Why did these men—military men, civilian politicians, diplomats, the emperor—put their country and its citizens so unnecessarily in harm’s way? Introducing…


Book cover of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

Aurélie Basha i Novosejt Author Of 'I Made Mistakes': Robert McNamara's Vietnam War Policy, 1960-1968

From my list on the life and times of Daniel Ellsberg.

Why am I passionate about this?

My research permitted amazing conversations with some of McNamara’s former colleagues and their children, including Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg informed the direction of my research and shared my excitement about the sources I was looking for, especially the secret diaries of his former (and beloved) boss, John McNaughton. He is both a window into and a foil to McNamara. On substance, they were in basic agreement on most issues (from Vietnam to nuclear issues), but they chose very different paths to address their moral qualms. I think the questions they asked–including on the moral responsibility of public officials–are as urgent today as they were in the 1960s.

Aurélie's book list on the life and times of Daniel Ellsberg

Aurélie Basha i Novosejt Why did Aurélie love this book?

Ellsberg’s last book focused more clearly on his work on nuclear planning within the Department of Defense, where Secrets had mostly concerned itself with Vietnam.

The book provides a chilling account of how tenuous and fragile a system based on nuclear deterrence remains. Much more than that, the book is a clarion call for all of its readers to be alive to the morality of the very existence of nuclear weapons.

By Daniel Ellsberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-Fiction

From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, the first insider expose of the awful dangers of America's hidden, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that is chillingly still extant

At the same time former presidential advisor Daniel Ellsberg famously took the top-secret Pentagon Papers, he also took with him a chilling cache of top-secret documents related to America's nuclear program in the 1960s. Here for the first time he reveals the contents of those now-declassified documents and makes clear their shocking relevance for today.

The Doomsday Machine is Ellsberg's hair-raising…


Book cover of The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914

Matthew S. Seligmann Author Of Rum, Sodomy, Prayers, and the Lash Revisited: Winston Churchill and Social Reform in the Royal Navy, 1900-1915

From my list on Churchill’s First World War Navy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a British naval historian and winner of the Sir Julian Corbett Prize for Naval History. My main area of interest is the Anglo-German naval race before the First World War. I have written numerous books on this topic including Rum, Sodomy, Prayers, and the Lash Revisited: Winston Churchill and Social Reform in the Royal Navy, 1900-1915 (2018); The Naval Route to the Abyss: The Anglo-German Naval Race, 1895-1914 (2015); The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914 (2012); Naval Intelligence from Germany (2007); and Spies in Uniform: British Military and Naval Intelligence on the Eve of the First World War (2006). 

Matthew's book list on Churchill’s First World War Navy

Matthew S. Seligmann Why did Matthew love this book?

This book genuinely changes our understanding of British defence policy before the First World War. It is often assumed that the German challenge to British naval supremacy before 1914 was a mirage and that fears that Germany might launch an invasion of the British Isles were simple scaremongering. The reality was different. The Royal Navy may have been bigger and stronger than its German counterpart, but its task was harder and its leaders were not confident that they could prevent German soldiers from landing on British soil. Based on first-rate research, this book explains why.

By David G. Morgan-Owen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Fear of Invasion presents a new interpretation of British preparation for War before 1914. It argues that protecting the British Isles from invasion was the foundation upon which all other plans for the defence of the Empire were built up. Home defence determined the amount of resources available for other tasks and the relative focus of the Army and Navy, as both played an important role in preventing an invasion. As politicians were reluctant to
prepare for offensive British participation in a future war, home defence became the means by which the government contributed to an ill-defined British 'grand'…


Book cover of The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars

Luke Peterson Author Of The U.S. Military in the Print News Media: Service and Sacrifice in Contemporary Discourse

From my list on a critical perspective on U.S. foreign policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a teacher, writer, scholar, and, above all, a critic of social injustice for my entire professional life. My experience living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank informed my critical voice around issues of language, knowledge, history, and policy in and about the Middle East, leading to the publication of my two scholarly monographs: Palestine in the American Mind: The Discourse on Palestine in the Contemporary United States and Palestine-Israel in the Print News Media: Contending Discourses. The titles I introduce here have been vital to my ongoing education on these issues and in my continuing advocacy for peace and justice in Palestine, the Middle East, and around the world. 

Luke's book list on a critical perspective on U.S. foreign policy

Luke Peterson Why did Luke love this book?

In this book, John Tirman offers an unapologetic view of the true human cost of America’s wars of choice throughout the world, particularly those in the twenty-first century in the greater Middle East.

Reading Tirman, I came to understand the true face of American war as seen through the eyes of the victims of American war policy, namely civilians who never held a weapon nor lifted a finger in anger against the United States. Tirman informs that war kills, and to a staggering extent, it kills innocent civilians.

As a citizen of the American Empire in the twenty-first century, it was critical for me to know what the United States does in my name and who around the world is adversely affected by the nation's violent policies. I found Tirman to be an invaluable voice in my pursuit of that vital information. 

By John Tirman,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh Author Of American Estrangement: Stories

From my list on ways to fit in in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Other than the fact that I grew up in the United States, the son of a Jewish-American mother, an Iranian-born father, a thirteen-letter unpronounceable letter last name, the 444-day Iranian hostage crisis, and parents who were both members of the Socialist Workers Party, which advocated for a working-class revolution along the lines of the Russian Revolution—I am a typical American. I like hamburgers, Martha Stewart, and the New York Yankees. Trace elements of my upbringing can still be found in my memoir, When Skateboards Will Be Free, my two short story collections, and my worldview, which I’m still working on in therapy. 

Saïd's book list on ways to fit in in America

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh Why did Saïd love this book?

Nothing is more American than making war in other countries, and Phil Klay’s collection of essays investigates that line between those Americans who fight in our current wars and those who get to stay home and eventually forget that there’s even a war taking place somewhere. Klay knows about what he writes. He’s a former marine who was stationed in Iraq, and while not seeing combat himself, he did see firsthand the complex relationship between occupied and occupier. Upon his return home, he was plunged into an even more surreal place: a country that had long since stopped paying attention. Bonus reading: Klay’s National Book Award-winning short story collection, Redeployment, where you can see how fiction becomes transmuted into nonfiction and vice versa.

By Phil Klay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uncertain Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment and Missionaries, an astonishing fever graph of the effects of twenty years of war in a brutally divided America.

When Phil Klay left the Marines a decade ago after serving as an officer in Iraq, he found himself a part of the community of veterans who have no choice but to grapple with the meaning of their wartime experiences—for themselves and for the country. American identity has always been bound up in war—from the revolutionary war of our founding, to the civil war that ended slavery, to the two world wars that…


Book cover of The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency

Christopher J. Fettweis Author Of The Pursuit of Dominance: 2000 Years of Superpower Grand Strategy

From my list on unconventional stories on US national security.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a political scientist who specializes in US foreign policy. I’ve been interested in war and peace – and avoiding the former – for as long as I can remember. More than anything else, I wish I could convince Americans of how safe they are, relatively speaking, and how safe they can remain if only we make wise decisions moving forward. The future is brighter than we think.

Christopher's book list on unconventional stories on US national security

Christopher J. Fettweis Why did Christopher love this book?

In this book, the closest thing we have to a traditional work of national security on this list, the brilliant (and funny) iconoclast John Mueller asks a simple question: Why don’t more people realize just how stupid war is?

Why, for instance, as Greek soldiers loaded into boats to attack Troy because of a kidnapping, did no one comment on the sheer stupidity of the whole operation? Mueller reviews the history of this stupidity and recommends that his country give more consideration to steering clear of them in the future.

All wars the United States fights are, to use the common parlance, “wars of choice.” We always have the option to not engage, a choice that would usually leave us better off.

By John Mueller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It could be said that American foreign policy since 1945 has been one long miscue; most international threats - including during the Cold War - have been substantially exaggerated. The result has been agony and bloviation, unnecessary and costly military interventions that have mostly failed. A policy of complacency and appeasement likely would have worked better. In this highly readable book, John Mueller argues with wisdom and wit rather than ideology and hyperbole that aversion to international war has had considerable consequences. There has seldom been significant danger of major war. Nuclear weapons, international institutions, and America's super power role…


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