58 books like Mr Hamilton's Elysium

By Michael Symes,

Here are 58 books that Mr Hamilton's Elysium fans have personally recommended if you like Mr Hamilton's Elysium. 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 Moving Heaven and Earth: Capability Brown's Gift of Landscape

Roderick Floud Author Of England's Magnificent Gardens: How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today

From my list on the history of the gardening industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love visiting other people’s gardens, great and small. There are many thousands throughout England but, as I surveyed the beauty of the lakes and rolling lawns of one of them, I was struck by a question: how much did it cost? I found that none of the huge number of books on gardening and garden history gave an answer, so (drawing on my experience as an economic historian) I had to try for myself. Fifteen years later, after delving in archives, puzzling out the intricacies of lakes and dams, exploring ruined greenhouses, peering into the bothies in which gardening apprentices lived, England’s Magnificent Gardens is my answer.

Roderick's book list on the history of the gardening industry

Roderick Floud Why did Roderick love this book?

Lancelot “Capability” Brown and his fellow garden designers transformed the English landscape in the middle of the 1700s. They swept away the formal gardens of an earlier age and replaced them with lakes and long vistas of tree-studded landscapes. Steffie Shields describes the mechanics of the work of hundreds of gardeners but also, with the aid of lavish pictures, describes the beauty which they created—once described as “England’s greatest contribution to European culture.”

By Steffie Shields,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moving Heaven and Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This beautifully illustrated book, with the vast majority of illustrations photographed by the author, makes a fitting tribute to the world-famous 18th century landscape architect Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783) in his Tercentenary year.


Book cover of The Sun King's Garden: Louis XIV, Andre le Notre and the Creation of the Gardens of Versailles

Roderick Floud Author Of England's Magnificent Gardens: How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today

From my list on the history of the gardening industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love visiting other people’s gardens, great and small. There are many thousands throughout England but, as I surveyed the beauty of the lakes and rolling lawns of one of them, I was struck by a question: how much did it cost? I found that none of the huge number of books on gardening and garden history gave an answer, so (drawing on my experience as an economic historian) I had to try for myself. Fifteen years later, after delving in archives, puzzling out the intricacies of lakes and dams, exploring ruined greenhouses, peering into the bothies in which gardening apprentices lived, England’s Magnificent Gardens is my answer.

Roderick's book list on the history of the gardening industry

Roderick Floud Why did Roderick love this book?

Louis XIV of France was, like many other European kings and their queens and families, a mad-keen gardener. He had all the resources of his powerful nation, including its army, to help him and the result was the garden of Versailles, probably the most expensive and lavish ever made. It was watered by hundreds of fountains, powered by a set of pumps in the River Seine which was probably the largest machine constructed before the Industrial Revolution. Versailles became the model which kings and aristocrats across Europe aspired to emulate. Ian Thompson tells its history, in detail but in engaging prose. 

By Ian Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sun King's Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

War-monger, womanizer and autocrat, Louis XIV, Frances's self-styled 'Sun-King', was also history's most fanatical gardener. At Versailles, twelve miles outside Paris he created not only Europe's most lavish palace but the most extensive gardens the Western world has ever seen. The Domaine Nationale de Versailles now covers 2,100 acres (about two and a half times the size of New York's Central Park) but in it's heyday under Louis, the grand parc covered an astounding 16,343 acres. Assisting Louis in all this was a lowly-born gardener, Andre Le Notre, whose character and temperament were as different from those of his sovereign…


Book cover of The Gardens of the British Working Class

Roderick Floud Author Of England's Magnificent Gardens: How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today

From my list on the history of the gardening industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love visiting other people’s gardens, great and small. There are many thousands throughout England but, as I surveyed the beauty of the lakes and rolling lawns of one of them, I was struck by a question: how much did it cost? I found that none of the huge number of books on gardening and garden history gave an answer, so (drawing on my experience as an economic historian) I had to try for myself. Fifteen years later, after delving in archives, puzzling out the intricacies of lakes and dams, exploring ruined greenhouses, peering into the bothies in which gardening apprentices lived, England’s Magnificent Gardens is my answer.

Roderick's book list on the history of the gardening industry

Roderick Floud Why did Roderick love this book?

Garden history is largely written about the gardens of the rich and famous, kings, queens, and aristocrats, But most of the population, in many countries, have small gardens, balconies, and window-boxes and tend them as lovingly as do the paid gardeners of the rich. Margaret Willes uncovers their history in Britain over five centuries; it is a difficult task because most working-class gardeners left few or no documentary records, but she succeeds triumphantly. Gardening societies, at which they showed off their prize fruit and vegetables, allotments, the garden cities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all have their place, together with the archetypal cottage garden with roses around the door.  

By Margaret Willes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gardens of the British Working Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This magnificently illustrated people's history celebrates the extraordinary feats of cultivation by the working class in Britain, even if the land they toiled, planted, and loved was not their own. Spanning more than four centuries, from the earliest records of the laboring classes in the country to today, Margaret Willes's research unearths lush gardens nurtured outside rough workers' cottages and horticultural miracles performed in blackened yards, and reveals the ingenious, sometimes devious, methods employed by determined, obsessive, and eccentric workers to make their drab surroundings bloom. She also explores the stories of the great philanthropic industrialists who provided gardens for…


Book cover of The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obession

Roderick Floud Author Of England's Magnificent Gardens: How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today

From my list on the history of the gardening industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love visiting other people’s gardens, great and small. There are many thousands throughout England but, as I surveyed the beauty of the lakes and rolling lawns of one of them, I was struck by a question: how much did it cost? I found that none of the huge number of books on gardening and garden history gave an answer, so (drawing on my experience as an economic historian) I had to try for myself. Fifteen years later, after delving in archives, puzzling out the intricacies of lakes and dams, exploring ruined greenhouses, peering into the bothies in which gardening apprentices lived, England’s Magnificent Gardens is my answer.

Roderick's book list on the history of the gardening industry

Roderick Floud Why did Roderick love this book?

Gardening is indeed an obsession, which can drive men and women to madness and penury. It is fuelled by competition, the desire to have the latest, most exotic specimen. Andrea Wulf captures beautifully the mania for American plants which swept across English gardens in the 1700s, as the plant-hunter John Bartram of Virginia teamed up with the London merchant, Peter Collinson, to import boxes of plants and seeds into the UK. If they survived the long sea voyage, they were then nurtured by English aristocrats and their head gardeners, at vast expense, before becoming so common that few gardeners in Europe today know where they came from.

By Andrea Wulf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The Invention of Nature, a fascinating look at the men who made Britain the center of the botanical world.

“Wulf’s flair for storytelling is combined with scholarship, brio, and a charmingly airy style. ... A delightful book—and you don’t need to be a gardener to enjoy it.”—The New York Times Book Review

Bringing to life the science and adventure of eighteenth-century plant collecting, The Brother Gardeners is the story of how six men created the modern garden and changed the horticultural world in the process. It is a story of a garden revolution that began…


Book cover of Tamsin

Brita Sandstrom Author Of Hollow Chest

From my list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

All the best books have a cat sidekick. Over and over, when people talk to me about my book, they pause in the middle of whatever they were about to say and go, “Oh my gosh, Biscuits,” and then launch into a list of things Biscuits the cat does, and how they are similar to things their cats have done, presumably up to and including throwing hands (paws?) with horrifying monsters that want to eat your heart. Biscuits is the latest in a long and proud tradition of literary feline companions, an essential element of many of my favorite and formative texts growing up. 

Brita's book list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character

Brita Sandstrom Why did Brita love this book?

Mr. Cat is a ride-or-die. Mr. Cat walks the line that all cats do in the real world, in that he doesn’t actually have magic powers and he can’t actually talk, he is at the end of the day a little animal that lives in Jenny’s house, but also he would bite a ghost without hesitation. It’s Peter S. Beagle’s complete mastery of voice and tone that enable Jenny and Mr. Cat to walk that line so effortlessly. Because the fantastical is grounded so deeply in the real world, the stakes feel so high that I first read this book in one breathless sitting, afraid to look away. 

By Peter S. Beagle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tamsin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Arriving in the English countryside to live with her mother and new stepfather, Jenny has no interest in her surroundings until she meets Tamsin. Since her death over 300 years ago, Tamsin has haunted the lonely estate without rest, trapped by a hidden trauma she can't remember, and a powerful evil even the spirits of night cannot name. To help her, Jenny must delve deeper into the dark world than any human has in hundreds of years, and face danger that will change her life forever.


Book cover of Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

The third leg of the stool supporting workplace democracy (in addition to the democratic and property arguments) is the inalienable rights argument based on the factual inalienability of people’s responsible agency, which the legal employment contract pretends to be alienated in the firm based on employment. The truth comes out when an employee commits a crime at the behest of the employer; then they suddenly become partners in crime. Since the responsible agency is factually inalienable in both criminous and non-criminous actions, the contract that legally alienates all agency to the employer in the non-criminous case should be abolished. Garry Wills traces the history of the inalienable rights clause in the Declaration of Independence back to its roots in the Scottish and European Enlightenment.

By Garry Wills,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From acclaimed historian Garry Wills, author of Lincoln at Gettysburg, a celebrated re-appraisal of the meaning and the source of inspiration of The Declaration of Independence, based on a reading of Jefferson's original draft document.

Inventing America upended decades of thinking about The Declaration of Independence when it was first published in 1978 and remains one of the most influential and important works of scholarship about this founding document. Wills challenged the idea that Jefferson took all his ideas from John Locke. Instead, by focussing on Jefferson's original drafts, he showed Jefferson's debt to Scottish Enlightenment philosophers such as Lord…


Book cover of Thomas Jefferson's European Travel Diaries

Colin Duncan Taylor Author Of Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood

From my list on France through foreign eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Colin Duncan Taylor is the author of Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood, and Menu from the Midi: A Gastronomic Journey through the South of France. He has been a French resident for 20 years, and through his books he shares his passion for the region’s culture, gastronomy, history, and language.

Colin's book list on France through foreign eyes

Colin Duncan Taylor Why did Colin love this book?

This book is based on notes made by Thomas Jefferson when he was US ambassador to France. For me, their highlight is his account of a journey south to examine the operation of the Canal du Midi which links Toulouse to the Mediterranean. Jefferson travelled down from Paris in his own carriage and when he reached the mouth of the canal near Agde he saw no reason to abandon it. He hired a barge to take him to Toulouse and loaded his carriage on deck.

During his eight-day journey, he recorded his impressions in notes and letters written while he was travelling, and he made observations on aspects of daily life which his French contemporaries rarely thought worth recording: agriculture, architecture, the price of goods and labour, the condition of the people, technical aspects of the canal, and where he could find the best wine.

This book is hard to…

By Thomas Jefferson, Persephone Weene, James McGrath Morris

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thomas Jefferson's European Travel Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jefferson's own account of his journey's through the countryside and wine regions of the continent in 1787 and 1788.


Book cover of Thomas Jefferson's Education

Seth Mallios Author Of Hail Montezuma! The Hidden Treasures of San Diego State

From my list on the surprising histories of college campuses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find the archaeology of here to be just as interesting and enlightening as any faraway land. For those of us at universities, that means that the campus itself is worthy of historical, archaeological, and anthropological study. I have been San Diego State’s University History Curator for decades and never tire of uncovering new insights into an institution with a 125-year history, nearly 500,000 alumni, and a bevy of bizarre tales. Whether it be hidden student murals, supernatural claims from the gridiron, or disputed dinosaur footprints, the immediate landscape of our workplace is often full of historical treasures.

Seth's book list on the surprising histories of college campuses

Seth Mallios Why did Seth love this book?

Whereas many books research the history of higher education are full of lofty ideals and collegiate high jinks, Alan Taylor’s book Thomas Jefferson’s Education is an insightful yet sobering look at the historical context and inception of the University of Virginia. This text is no hagiography and details how Jefferson’s university was deeply intertwined with slavery and many of the elitist vices common to Virginia gentry.

By Alan Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thomas Jefferson's Education as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By turns entertaining and tragic, this beautifully crafted history reveals the origins of a great university in the dilemmas of Virginia slavery. Thomas Jefferson shares centre stage with his family and fellow planters, all dependent on the labour of enslaved black families. With a declining Virginia yielding to commercially vibrant northern states, in 1819 Jefferson proposed to build a university to educate and improve the sons of the planter elite. He hoped they might one day lead a revitalised Virginia free of slavery-and free of the former slaves.

Jefferson's campaign was a contest for the future of a state and…


Book cover of Jefferson's Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello

Francis D. Cogliano Author Of Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy

From my list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent three decades teaching the history of the United States, especially the American Revolution, to students in the UK. Invariably some students are attracted by the ideals they identify with the United States while others stress the times that the US has failed to uphold those ideals. Thomas Jefferson helped to articulate those ideals and often came up short when it came to realizing them. This has fascinated me as well as my students. I'm the author or editor of eight books on Jefferson and the American Revolution including, Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy and The Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson. I'm currently completing a book about the relationship between Jefferson and George Washington.

Francis' book list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view

Francis D. Cogliano Why did Francis love this book?

Beginning with Jefferson’s death in 1826 Burstein seeks to answer some of the most vexing questions that confronted Jefferson (and have preoccupied historians) including the consequences of mortality, the nature of Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings, Jefferson’s attempts to reconcile his dependence on slavery with his belief in liberty, and his attitudes toward women. Drawing on a subtle and sophisticated study of Jefferson’s library and his reading habits, Burstein offers an original and engaging book that helps us to understand Jefferson’s heart by studying the thoughts in his head. A remarkable book.

By Andrew Burstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jefferson's Secrets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, he left behind a series of mysteries that have captured the imaginations of historical investigators for generations. In Jefferson's Secrets, Andrew Burstein draws on sources previous biographers have glossed over or missed entirely. Beginning with Jefferson's last days, Burstein shows how Jefferson confronted his own mortality. Burstein also tackles the crucial questions history has yet to answer: Did Jefferson love Sally Hemings? What were his attitudes towards women? Did he believe in God? How did he wish to be remembered? The result is a profound and nuanced portrait of the most complex…


Book cover of Astoria: Astor and Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier

Kevin Sites Author Of The Ocean Above Me

From my list on true-life sea adventures that blow you overboard.

Why am I passionate about this?

You have to appreciate the intrepid nature of those who ventured out to sea in the days before satellite-enabled navigation, modern weather forecasting, and Coast Guard rescue swimmers. The books I’ve listed span a time of great global exploration occurring simultaneously with the engines of novel economic development. Most of that development was based on the exploitation of human and natural resources. A thread of curiosity through all of these picks is how those individuals most directly involved in its physical pursuit and transport were rarely the same who benefitted from it. But instead lived lives of constant hardship and danger – profiting, if at all, only in the adventure itself.

Kevin's book list on true-life sea adventures that blow you overboard

Kevin Sites Why did Kevin love this book?

This is another early American expedition lost to modern memory. In 1810, one of America’s richest men, John Jacob Astor, sent out two expeditions to exploit the riches of the western coast of North America. Unclaimed at the time.

One was to progress overland the other by sea. Both ended in personal and economic disaster. Yet, showcasing moments of heroism and cowardice, selflessness, and greed – but ultimately awakening America to this untapped potential of this rich, rugged, and unforgiving territory.

Stark writes like a novelist weaving rich, character studies Into the narrative that helped invest me in the people and their mostly, unfortunate fates. 

By Peter Stark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing.

Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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