100 books like Landscapes of the First World War

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

Here are 100 books that Landscapes of the First World War fans have personally recommended if you like Landscapes of the First World War. 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 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 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 Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism

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?

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki no one knew, with certainty, the outcomes of Western techno-scientific progress.

If governmental laboratories had been able to develop in secrecy bombs that could wipe out an entire city, then how sanguine could anyone be of fruits of scientific research?

Dr. Hamblin shows how scientists in Western laboratories exceeded even the most outlandish sci-fi fantasies of the Cold War.

In addition to developing biological and radiological weapons, scientists explored various ways to exploit crop destruction, massive fires, artificial earthquakes and tsunamis, ocean current manipulation, sea level tinkering, weather control, and even climate change in the coming World War III.

By Jacob Darwin Hamblin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Famines. Diseases. Natural catastrophes. In 1945, scientists imagined these as the future faces of war. The United States and its allies prepared for a global struggle against the Soviet Union by using science to extend "total war" ideas to the natural environment. Biological and radiological weapons, crop destruction, massive fires, artificial earthquakes and tsunamis, ocean current manipulation, sea level tinkering, weather control, and even climate change-all
these became avenues of research at the height of the Cold War. By the 1960s, a new phrase had emerged: environmental warfare.

The same science-in fact, many of the same people-also led the way…


Book cover of Paul Nash in Pictures: Landscape and Dream

Dave McKean Author Of Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash

From my list on Paul Nash.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent two years researching and creating the graphic novel Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash for the 14-18Now Foundations WW1 centenary art commissions, and then touring a live permanence work evolved from the book. We grew up a few miles from each other, and he convalesced after the war where I live now, and I share his sense of place, and we appear to have shared many life experiences, with the obvious exception being his time in the trenches - that was the huge black hole I tried to understand with this work.

Dave's book list on Paul Nash

Dave McKean Why did Dave love this book?

Key paintings from Nash’s restless career, each with an accompanying essay offering insight into the real places and events that Nash samples and folds into his psychological landscapes. We are constantly aware of the mind behind the brush, using the places he loves to explore his inner anxieties and his desire for solace.

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 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 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 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 A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Virginia Rademacher Author Of Derivative Lives: Biofiction, Uncertainty, and Speculative Risk in Contemporary Spanish Narrative

From my list on combating post-truth contagions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and professor of literary studies whose work has been deeply involved in topics of truth, realism, and public policy. My recent book considers works of fiction that openly and honestly experiment with questions of uncertainty, identity, and risk in the supermodern present. This book draws from disciplinary discourses in law, finance, and economics, which similarly contend with competing claims to truth and value and dive deep into the circumstantial and speculative games that authors play when they write fiction about reality. I have my PhD in Spanish Literature (UVA), M.A. in International Affairs and Economics (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Virginia's book list on combating post-truth contagions

Virginia Rademacher Why did Virginia love this book?

I love the idea that part of how we understand the world is the willingness not to know where we are going or to have the map fully charted beforehand–in effect, the willingness to become lost. Without becoming lost, all our worlds become algorithms with predetermined results.

I found Solnit’s argument that we have increasingly programmed our children (and selves) and no longer risk the freedom to roam and get lost (all in the name of safety) a powerful and compelling metaphor for the tradeoffs we have made in our society.

That people are increasingly siloed and we don’t communicate well across differences of opinion and belief is perhaps not surprising. We stay safely in our zone. We don’t risk getting lost or what we might discover if we traipsed beyond our comfortable assumptions and limits. 

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Field Guide to Getting Lost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this investigation into loss, losing and being lost, Rebecca Solnit explores the challenges of living with uncertainty. A Field Guide to Getting Lost takes in subjects as eclectic as memory and mapmaking, Hitchcock movies and Renaissance painting.

Beautifully written, this book combines memoir, history and philosophy, shedding glittering new light on the way we live now.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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