92 books like Dark is the Wood

By Kristin Ward,

Here are 92 books that Dark is the Wood fans have personally recommended if you like Dark is the Wood. 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 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 Landscape and Memory

Jeremy Burchardt Author Of Lifescapes: The Experience of Landscape in Britain, 1870-1960

From my list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the countryside ever since I was a child. Every year we used to stay for a week or two on a beautiful farm hidden away in a hollow of the Leicestershire wolds. I was fascinated by the wildlife and history – the old cottages and churches, local traditions and place names. It’s no accident I became a rural historian! I’m captivated by the strange power of landscape to affect us, subtly weaving itself into our sense of being, and have devoted much of my adult life to trying to understand this. I hope you find the books on the list as rewarding as I have!

Jeremy's book list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

No one writes quite like Simon Schama. This is a sprawling epic of a book, global in its sweep. 

It ranges from the Polish-Lithuanian forests, where bison roam oblivious of centuries of human conflict and suffering, to the Orinoco, in Walter Raleigh’s doomed and bloody footsteps, to the grandeur (or hubris?) of Mount Rushmore. Much of it, however, concerns the tangled threads of myth and collective memory that haunt the English landscape. 

As someone born in Nottingham and brought up on Robin Hood, I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the medieval greenwood. Schama’s erudition and range of examples are dazzling. Throughout, he argues that Western civilization, far from being fundamentally antagonistic to nature as some have claimed, is permeated with rich, powerful and persistent myths of nature and landscape. 

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Time Magazine Best Books of the Year. In Landscape and Memory, award-winning author Simon Schama ranges over continents and centuries to reveal the psychic claims that human beings have made on nature. He tells of the Nazi cult of the primeval German forest; the play of Christian and pagan myth in Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers; and the duel between a monumental sculptor and a feminist gadfly on the slopes of Mount Rushmore. The result is a triumphant work of history, naturalism, mythology, and art, as encyclopedic as The Golden Bough and as irresistibly readable as Schama's own…


Book cover of Landmarks

Edward Struzik Author Of Swamplands: Tundra Beavers, Quaking Bogs, and the Improbable World of Peat

From my list on nature and the environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent a good part of my life exploring the outdoor world for the national parks service, for books, newspapers, and magazines. Each trip down a river, across a lake, up a mountain, or through a desert or swampland reminds me, as Wallace Stegner once suggested, that wilderness is as much a state of mind as it is a complex set of ecosystems. Wilderness is the geography of hope. Without the hope that comes with the wilderness experience, we would be lost. In my explorations, I've come to appreciate how much we still do not know about the natural world and how much hope there is that we can get through the challenges that climate change brings.

Edward's book list on nature and the environment

Edward Struzik Why did Edward love this book?

This is a book about language and how we have lost so many words that clarify our understanding of the natural world. For my book Swamplands, I borrowed from MacFarlane’s glossary of words describing peat. Yarpha, for example, is an Orkney word for peat that is full of fibers and roots, Water-sick is a Cumbrian word for peatlands that are saturated with water. The book reminds us that we need to be more explicit in describing nature in all of its manifestations. It is also addictive. You can start from the middle and read to the beginning or to the end, It never fails

By Robert Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE

From the bestselling author of UNDERLAND, THE OLD WAYS and THE LOST WORDS

'Few books give such a sense of enchantment; it is a book to give to many, and to return to repeatedly' Independent

Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land,…


Book cover of The History of the Countryside

Jeremy Burchardt Author Of Lifescapes: The Experience of Landscape in Britain, 1870-1960

From my list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the countryside ever since I was a child. Every year we used to stay for a week or two on a beautiful farm hidden away in a hollow of the Leicestershire wolds. I was fascinated by the wildlife and history – the old cottages and churches, local traditions and place names. It’s no accident I became a rural historian! I’m captivated by the strange power of landscape to affect us, subtly weaving itself into our sense of being, and have devoted much of my adult life to trying to understand this. I hope you find the books on the list as rewarding as I have!

Jeremy's book list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

Oliver Rackham is to historical landscape ecology what W.G. Hoskins is to landscape history.

More than anyone else, Rackham had the vision to understand that the pattern of woods, fields, hedges, moors, and marshes that defines the English countryside, although seemingly natural, was in fact created by a delicate and constantly shifting balance between human intervention and geological, climatological and ecological influences. 

The Chiltern beechwoods I’ve enjoyed walking in since childhood, for example, exist partly because the timber was valuable for the chair-making industry that once flourished there, while the species-rich hay meadows of Swaledale that entranced me on a recent cycle tour were part and parcel of the local dairy-farming tradition, and have been put at risk by its decline.

By Oliver Rackham,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The History of the Countryside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From its earliest origins to the present day, this award-winning, beautifully written book describes the endlessly changing character of Britain's countryside.

'A classic' Richard Mabey

Exploring the natural and man-made features of the land - fields, highways, hedgerows, fens, marshes, rivers, heaths, coasts, woods and wood pastures - he shows conclusively and unforgettably how they have developed over the centuries. In doing so, he covers a wealth of related subjects to provide a fascinating account of the sometimes subtle and sometimes radical ways in which people, fauna, flora, climate, soils and other physical conditions have played their part in the…


Book cover of Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Author Of Medicus

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

A family visit to Hadrian’s Wall first sparked my interest in Roman Britain, and since then I’ve written eight novels, one novella, and a couple of short stories featuring Roman Army Medic and reluctant sleuth Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner, Tilla. I’m the owner of an archaeological trowel and infinite curiosity, both of which I wield as often as possible in search of the “real” Roman Britain. 

Ruth's book list on Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Why did Ruth love this book?

A modern tour around sites of Roman Britain, and a fascinating look at the stories we later Britons have told ourselves about the Roman era over the ensuing centuries – in ways that perhaps say more about us than they do about the Romans. 

By Charlotte Higgins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Sometimes on foot, sometimes in a magnificent, if not entirely reliable, VW camper van, Charlotte Higgins sets out to explore the ancient monuments of Roman Britain. She explores the land that was once Rome’s northernmost territory and how it has changed since the years after the empire fell. Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how…


Book cover of The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot

Helen Jukes Author Of A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

From my list on reconnecting with nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nature has been a source of play, exploration, community, and solace for me since I was very young – as an adult, I find myself fascinated and alarmed by our species’ relations with the living world. Nature writing gives me a way of bringing my attention to this relationship and exploring it in a very close way. I often think of that well-worn phrase: We cannot protect what we do not love; we cannot love what we do not know. Literature, it seems to me, offers one route to better knowing and loving the world.

Helen's book list on reconnecting with nature

Helen Jukes Why did Helen love this book?

This book charts a series of journeys along ancient tracks, holloways, and drove-roads. I found it a hugely immersive, surprisingly exhilarating read – I loved how Macfarlane brought a very detailed, lucid, and embodied mode of narration to travels that were often unexpected and strange.

As he walks, we hear stories of ghosts, pilgrims, songs, and their singers – it’s a book about people as much as places, and as I read, I gained a powerful sense of how, as humans, we’re shaped, made, and remade, by the landscapes we move through.

By Robert Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed author of The Wild Places and Underland examines the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move

Chosen by Slate as one of the 50 best nonfiction books of the past 25 years

In this exquisitely written book, which folds together natural history, cartography, geology, and literature, Robert Macfarlane sets off to follow the ancient routes that crisscross both the landscape of the British Isles and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the voices that haunt old paths and the stories our tracks tell. Macfarlane's journeys take…


Book cover of How to Read the American West: A Field Guide

Eric Magrane Author Of The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide

From my list on looking at field guides and atlases in a new way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love field guides. I can vividly picture my first copy of Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds, tattered and weather-beaten. I also love poetry and literature, so it seemed natural to me to bring the two together in my work. I’m from New England, but I've lived in the U.S. Southwest for over twenty years. Place is important to me: I think a lot about how we get to know and care for the places we live and call home and how we can work to be good neighbors. I worked for about a decade as a hiking guide and have also taught environmental education. I now teach geography at New Mexico State University. 

Eric's book list on looking at field guides and atlases in a new way

Eric Magrane Why did Eric love this book?

This is a great book to take along on a road trip in the U.S. West. In fact, I’ve used this book multiple times on geography field courses, in which students and I camp our way across the Southwest. Wyckoff includes 100 different landscape features, including both physical and cultural landscapes. Think everything from “Cacti and Joshua Trees” to “Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture” to “Edge Cities,” and you have a little taste of the book. Wyckoff’s “Tips for Navigating Western Landscapes” are especially useful and will help even the most experienced traveler to see and understand cultural and physical landscapes in new ways. 

By William Wyckoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Read the American West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From deserts to ghost towns, from national forests to California bungalows, many of the features of the western American landscape are well known to residents and travelers alike. But in How to Read the American West, William Wyckoff introduces readers anew to these familiar landscapes. A geographer and an accomplished photographer, Wyckoff offers a fresh perspective on the natural and human history of the American West and encourages readers to discover that history has shaped the places where people live, work, and visit.

This innovative field guide includes stories, photographs, maps, and diagrams on a hundred landscape features across the…


Book cover of Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England

Owen Wormser Author Of Lawns Into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape

From my list on regeneration and restoring ecological health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my childhood growing up off-grid in rural Maine, I’ve been fascinated by the natural world. Out of that fascination grew an abiding interest in weaving people and the landscape back together, something I’ve focused on and explored for over two decades, both personally and in my capacity as a landscape designer. The books I’ve shared here all provided me with know-how and perspective that has inspired me to pursue ecological regeneration. If you’re interested in these topics you won’t be disappointed! 

Owen's book list on regeneration and restoring ecological health

Owen Wormser Why did Owen love this book?

When European colonists settled North America, they began to significantly alter the landscape in ways that were deeply ignorant of ecological health. Now, over 400 years later, that impact has not lessened. However, over that time, there have been significant ebbs and flows in the landscape relative to how it’s used (or not used). This fascinating book follows that trajectory as it explores the environmental history of New England. Even for those not familiar with this particular region, this book offers a unique window into how dynamic and fluid landscapes and ecosystems can be over the course of time.  

By William Cronon,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Changes in the Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book that launched environmental history, William Cronon's Changes in the Land, now revised and updated.

Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize

In this landmark work of environmental history, William Cronon offers an original and profound explanation of the effects European colonists' sense of property and their pursuit of capitalism had upon the ecosystems of New England. Reissued here with an updated afterword by the author and a new preface by the distinguished colonialist John Demos, Changes in the Land, provides a brilliant inter-disciplinary interpretation of how land and people influence one another. With its chilling closing line, "The people…


Book cover of North Country: An anthology of landscape and nature

Irfan Shah Author Of Where Lay My Homeward Path: Selected Short Stories by Edward Thomas

From my list on nature-writing with humans at the center.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and researcher from North Yorkshire, England. Although I’ve written extensively on pre-cinema history (for example, I co-wrote the BAFTA long-listed documentary, The First Film) I have also researched little-known stories connected with the natural world, particularly the beautiful Yorkshire Moors, where I live. My upcoming travelogue The Witches’ Way will combine nature-writing with original historical research, and will be published by Open Space Books in the Autumn. I have long been an admirer of the poetry of Edward Thomas – bringing his long-forgotten fiction to a new audience has been a real passion project of mine.

Irfan's book list on nature-writing with humans at the center

Irfan Shah Why did Irfan love this book?

This is similar to Wild Isles – a vast celebration of nature incorporating fiction, non-fiction, and poetry – but this time with its focus on the beautiful wild North of Britain.

It’s exciting to see so many different aspects of the area brought out and the inclusion of lesser-known contemporary writers such as Katie Hale, Loren Cafferty, and Graham Mort alongside greats such as William Wordsworth and Charlotte Brontë. 

So often neglected, so often stereotyped, the North is viewed here by those that know it, through clear eyes but with understandable adoration. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the moors, the dark green and grey wilds inhabited by curlew, kite, and hare.

This is the place where the Brontës created their epic romances and where contemporary writers sought solace during lockdown. The land continues to be a source of inspiration and it is gratifying to see it celebrated in this…

By Karen Lloyd (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Curlews give their liquid, burbling call, a call of pure happiness, the music of the fells." Ella Pontefract, 1936, Wensleydale

The North of England abounds with beauty, from unspoiled beaches in Northumberland to the dramatic Lakeland Fells, for so long celebrated by writers and artists. Wide estuaries, winding rivers, sheer cliffs, rushing waterfalls, ancient woodland, limestone pavements, and miles of hedgerows and drystone walls sustainably built and rebuilt over centuries - all form part of its rich heritage.

But these are, too, contested and depleted landscapes. Today the curlew's call is isolated, and many other species are in decline. Industry,…


Book cover of The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland

Harriet Lyon Author Of Memory and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in Early Modern England

From my list on the impact of the English Reformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early modern Britain, with particular interests in the cultural and religious history of the English Reformation, as well as in the fields of historical memory and time. I enjoy pursuing these subjects not only through research and reading, but also teaching. I am currently the J. H. Plumb College Lecturer in History at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge. 

Harriet's book list on the impact of the English Reformation

Harriet Lyon Why did Harriet love this book?

This book changed the way that I thought about the Reformation landscape. Alexandra Walsham shows that it was not only a terrain of ruins and fragments but also of converted and adapted structures, as well as of the memories and folk stories embedded in physical sites.

It taught me a lot about how the dissolution specifically was remembered, but also about the broader transformations within which it took place. The details in this book are endlessly rich and fascinating, and it is a great example of writing that takes serious the idea that history is rooted in space as well as time.

By Alexandra Walsham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Reformation of the Landscape is a richly detailed and original study of the relationship between the landscape of Britain and Ireland and the tumultuous religious changes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It explores how the profound theological and liturgical transformations that marked the era between 1500 and 1750 both shaped, and were in turn shaped by, the places and spaces within the physical environment in which they occurred. Moving beyond churches, cathedrals, and monasteries, it investigates how the Protestant and Catholic Reformations affected perceptions and practices associated with trees, woods, springs, rocks, mountain peaks, prehistoric monuments, and other…


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