100 books like Landscape and Memory

By Simon Schama,

Here are 100 books that Landscape and Memory fans have personally recommended if you like Landscape and Memory. 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 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 The Making of the English Landscape

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?

This has to be the most original and influential book ever written on landscape history – indeed it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that Hoskins invented landscape history. 

He shows us that beneath the lineaments of ordinary, everyday landscapes, a fascinating past can be discerned. A few bumps and hollows in a grassy field can indicate the site of a vanished medieval village; a double line of hedgerows might signify the boundary of an Anglo-Saxon estate. With this book in hand, we can all become landscape historians! 

Most of all, I love Hoskins’s distinctive voice, eloquent and passionate in defence of the landscapes he cherishes, deploring the violence inflicted on them and those who lived in them by the ruthless forces of industrialization and modernity.

By W. G. Hoskins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Deals with the historical evolution of the English landscape as we know it. It dispels the popular belief that the pattern of the land is a result of 18th-century enclosures and attributes it instead to a much longer evolution. This book traces the chronological development of the English landscape from pre-Roman days to the eve of the Black Death, onwards to the Industrial Revolution and up to the present day. With the help of photographs and charts, Professor Hopkins discusses the origins of Devonshire hedge-banks and lanes, the ruined churches in Norfolk and lost villages in Lincolnshire, Somerset's marshland ditches,…


Book cover of Landscape and Englishness

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?

Landscapes like the White Cliffs of Dover, the Cotswolds, or the Lake District are celebrated icons of national identity. 

David Matless shows how, in the first half of the twentieth century, these landscapes became sites of contestation between different visions of the nation. For some, committed to landscape preservation but also to a self-consciously modernizing planning ethos, Englishness was about neat, tidy landscapes, free from litter, pollution, and poverty. For others the real England was traditional, hierarchical, and unplanned, exemplified by the great estates with their country houses and landscape gardens. 

The fundamental question this book raised for me, one I’m still turning over in my mind, was whether and how we can find ways to harmonize our sometimes very different visions of the landscapes we care so much about.

By David Matless,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Landscape has been central to definitions of Englishness for centuries. David Matless argues that landscape has been the site where English visions of the past, present and future have met in debates over questions of national identity, disputes over history and modernity, and ideals of citizenship and the body. Landscape and Englishness is extensively illustrated and draws on a wide range of material - topographical guides, health manuals, paintings, poetry, architectural polemic, photography, nature guides and novels. The author first examines the inter-war period, showing how a vision of Englishness and landscape as both modern and traditional, urban and rural,…


Book cover of Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity

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?

I’ve been lucky enough to hear Paul speak on many occasions. He has a bright engaged manner and restless energy, ideas and examples pouring out almost too quickly to absorb. It’s the intellectual equivalent of standing under a waterfall.

Storied Ground reflects that energy and originality, prompting us to rethink many longstanding assumptions about the relationship between landscape and national identity. Was the English love of landscape a backwards-looking, conservative force, or a reassuring source of continuity that eased our passage into the modern age? Was it true, as Stanley Baldwin once claimed, that ‘England is the country, and the country is England’, or did the civic pride of prospering towns contribute to national identity too?

To these and many other questions, Paul gives surprising, sometimes challenging and always thought-provoking answers.

By Paul Readman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

People have always attached meaning to the landscape that surrounds them. In Storied Ground Paul Readman uncovers why landscape matters so much to the English people, exploring its particular importance in shaping English national identity amid the transformations of modernity. The book takes us from the fells of the Lake District to the uplands of Northumberland; from the streetscapes of industrial Manchester to the heart of London. This panoramic journey reveals the significance, not only of the physical characteristics of landscapes, but also of the sense of the past, collective memories and cultural traditions that give these places their meaning.…


Book cover of American Environmental History: An Introduction

Nancy C. Unger Author Of Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History

From my list on American environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is my passion as well as my profession. I love a good story! When I was teaching courses in environmental history and women’s history, I kept noticing the intriguing intersections, which inspired me to write Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers. Most of my work focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1920) and includes two award-winning biographies, Fighting Bob La Follette and Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer. I’m also the co-editor of A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and have written dozens of op-eds and give public talks (some of which can be found in the C-SPAN online library and on YouTube). 

Nancy's book list on American environmental history

Nancy C. Unger Why did Nancy love this book?

There are many general introductions to American environmental history. This one, by a pioneering leader in the field, is excellent. The comprehensive narrative provides a good mix of facts and interpretation, and Merchant provides as well a list of agencies, concepts, laws, and people, in addition to resource guides to print, film, video, archival, and electronic sources, plus bibliographies and essays on a variety of topics

By Carolyn Merchant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Environmental History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By studying the many ways diverse peoples have changed, shaped, and conserved the natural world over time, environmental historians provide insight into humanity's unique relationship with nature and, more importantly, are better able to understand the origins of our current environmental crisis. Beginning with the precolonial land-use practice of Native Americans and concluding with our twenty-first century concerns over our global ecological crisis, American Environmental History addresses contentious issues such as the preservation of the wilderness, the expulsion of native peoples from national parks, and population growth, and considers the formative forces of gender, race, and class. Entries address a…


Book cover of Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape

Emily Grandy Author Of Michikusa House

From my list on to help reconnect with the natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write well-researched literary fiction with an ecological focus. Before becoming a biomedical editor, I did clinical research for a leading academic medical center in Cleveland, OH. However, it was only by working at a research institution – and becoming a patient there – that I realized how much science overlooks; it’s only one way of knowing about something. Another way is by building relationships – including with non-human beings. It’s not just people who are complex. Every living thing exists within an intricate, nuanced ecosystem. This sort of knowing, built over long periods, is what facilitates understanding, compassion, and respect for other beings. These are the qualities I hope to share through my writing.

Emily's book list on to help reconnect with the natural world

Emily Grandy Why did Emily love this book?

Islands of Abandonment shares extraordinary examples of nature’s ability to reclaim – and restore – land abused by humans.

In startling vignettes, the author visits numerous abandoned sites, uninhabited by humans for different reasons: from Chernobyl to a no man's land on the island of Cyprus, to factories simply rendered obsolete leaving the surrounding neighborhoods blighted, dangerous and often empty.

I found this book to be, if not hopeful, then cautiously optimistic in its affirmation of nature’s resilience, even in the wake of massive destruction. Cal Flyn’s writing is enviably good: keenly observant, capturing intimate details about these landscapes and the non-human beings who inhabit them in vivid detail.

Unforgettable and illuminating. This is nature writing and investigative journalism at its best.

By Cal Flyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A beautiful, lyrical exploration of the places where nature is flourishing in our absence

"[Flyn] captures the dread, sadness, and wonder of beholding the results of humanity's destructive impulse, and she arrives at a new appreciation of life, 'all the stranger and more valuable for its resilence.'" --The New Yorker

Some of the only truly feral cattle in the world wander a long-abandoned island off the northernmost tip of Scotland. A variety of wildlife not seen in many lifetimes has rebounded on the irradiated grounds of Chernobyl. A lush forest supports thousands of species that are extinct or endangered everywhere…


Book cover of Sea Room

Jen Barclay Author Of Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese

From my list on wild and abandoned island places.

Why am I passionate about this?

A British writer and editor who developed a love of Greece from childhood holidays and Ancient Greek classes at school, and a passion for hidden and little-known places, I felt myself called back and moved ten years ago to the Dodecanese, a remote and rugged group of islands at the southeast edge of Europe. Wandering on foot around islands whose populations emigrated in their thousands over the last hundred years leaving refuges of wild and quiet, I began to be fascinated by things left behind on the landscape and differences from one island to the next. I explored in this way for five years and wrote the stories in my third book set in Greece, Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese.

Jen's book list on wild and abandoned island places

Jen Barclay Why did Jen love this book?

There’s been a proliferation of books in the last decade about wild and abandoned Scottish islands abundant in puffins and seals, but I have an affection for this, originally published twenty years ago, as it was the first I read and nudged me towards exploring the theme at the opposite extreme edge of Europe. Nicolson actually inherited the Shiant islands in the Hebrides who had bought them, so it’s no wonder he had them to himself, but he also was inspired by that connection and made it his serious mission to explore their nature and history, and uncovered in detail the haunting past of these abandoned islands. 

By Adam Nicolson, Adam Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Adam Nicolson's father had answered a newspaper advertisement in the 1930s: "Uninhabited islands for sale. Outer Hebrides. 600 acres. 500 ft basaltic cliffs. Puffins and seals. Cabin. Apply Col. Kenneth Macdonald, Portree, Skye." These were the Shiants, three of the loneliest of the British Isles, set in a dangerous sea, with no more than a stone-built, rat-ridden bothy as accommodation, five miles or so off the coast of Lewis. They cost #1400 and for that he bought one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Adam Nicolson inherited the islands when he was 21 - an astonishing gift -…


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 Streets of Memory: Landscape, Tolerance, and National Identity in Istanbul

Lisa Morrow Author Of Inside Out In Istanbul

From my list on exploring and understanding Istanbul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on exploring and understanding Istanbul

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

I’m always seeking to learn more about Istanbul’s multicultural past and Kuzguncuk, on the Asian side of Istanbul, is an area rich in history. The leafy streets and community vegetable garden are now extremely popular with Turkish hipsters, but Mills looked behind the surface by doing an incredible amount of research and conducting fascinating interviews with residents, to bring the past into the present. Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and Turks have always lived together here and in Streets of Memory their individual stories, ethnic histories, and differing memories are carefully woven together to create a deeply nuanced, complex picture of Istanbul.

By Amy Mills,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this study of Kuzguncuk, known as one of Istanbul's historically most tolerant, multiethnic neighborhoods, Amy Mills is animated by a single question: what does it mean to live in a place that once was--but no longer is--ethnically and religiously diverse? ""Turkification"" drove out most of Kuzguncuk's minority Greeks, Armenians, and Jews in the mid-twentieth century, but they left behind potent vestiges of their presence in the cityscape. Mills analyzes these places in a street-by-street ethnographic tour. She looks at how memory is conveyed and contested in Kuzguncuk's built environment, whether through the popular television programs filmed on location there…


Book cover of Our Better Nature: Environment and the Making of San Francisco

Chris Carlsson Author Of Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes and Radical Histories

From my list on how San Francisco turned out like it did.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived in San Francisco since I was 20 in 1978. I helped launch Processed World in 1981, Critical Mass in 1992, and Shaping San Francisco in 1998. I’ve been co-directing and co-curating the archive at foundsf.org since 2009, and have been fully immersed for years in gathering and presenting local history online, on bike and walking tours, during Public Talks, and most recently on Bay Cruises. I have published three books of my own and edited or co-edited seven additional volumes, much of which covers local history. The more I’ve learned the more I’ve realized how little I know!

Chris' book list on how San Francisco turned out like it did

Chris Carlsson Why did Chris love this book?

Philip Dreyfus has written a fantastic one-stop ecological history of San Francisco that properly puts the city’s evolution into the natural systems on which it was built. Too many histories overlook the basic questions of water, topography, and climate and how human activity, that is work, has altered those over time. Dreyfus starts with an eloquent description of pre-contact life on the windy, foggy, sand-dune-covered peninsula, and methodically takes us through the sequences of urbanization, including the struggle over green spaces and parklands, water provision, and ultimately the surrounding bay itself. Few cities have benefited as much as San Francisco from the activism of previous generations that in our case, saved the bay, blocked freeway construction, and halted nuclear power.

By Philip J. Dreyfus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few cities are so dramatically identified with their environment as San Francisco - the landscape of hills, the expansive bay, the engulfing fog, and even the deadly fault line shifting below. Yet most residents think of the city itself as separate from the natural environment on which it depends. In Our Better Nature, Philip J. Dreyfus recounts the history of San Francisco from Indian village to world-class metropolis, focusing on the interactions between the city and the land and on the generations of people who have transformed them both. Dreyfus examines the ways that San Franciscans remade the landscape to…


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