10 books like Seven Pillars of Wisdom

By T.E. Shaw,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Endurance

By Alfred Lansing,

Book cover of Endurance

Andreas Kluth Author Of Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure

From the list on biographies to help make sense of your own life.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved well-told stories of people who came before us, because I’ve always assumed that their lives offer us lessons. Subtle ones, perhaps, but important ones. That’s how, many years ago, I came across the Parallel Lives of Plutarch, who’s been called history’s first biographer. Eventually, I decided to have my own stab at interpreting the biographies of historical figures, and to weave history, philosophy, and psychology into (hopefully) gripping stories. As a journalist and a dual citizen of the US and Germany who’s also lived in the UK and Asia, I naturally looked all over the world for the right characters. And I still do.

Andreas' book list on biographies to help make sense of your own life

Discover why each book is one of Andreas' favorite books on biographies to help make sense of your own life .

Why this book?

This is one of the best survival guides ever, and one of the most compelling looks into how human beings do or don’t accept a disastrous situation and (literally) flow with it. It’s the story of the explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew, after their ship, the aptly named Endurance, got stuck in the Antarctic ice and then crushed by it. They were stranded, through the permanent darkness of the polar winter, on floating ice floes—with only blubber to eat, and no fiber at all (you work out the consequences). No shelter. No light. Water and waves underneath you. But they avoided going insane, and Shackleton figured out when to fight (the ice and the sea, in this case)—and when not to fight, in order to drift.

Endurance

By Alfred Lansing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible…


Desert Solitaire

By Edward Abbey,

Book cover of Desert Solitaire

Sean Prentiss Author Of Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave

From the list on reads by or about to Edward Abbey.

Who am I?

I’ve been passionate about Edward Abbey since I read Desert Solitaire in 1994. By 2010, I decided to write a biography on Abbey, Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, which allowed me to research and explore Abbey. I interviewed his great friends, including Jack Loeffler, Doug Peacock, Ken Sleight, and David Petersen. I visited Abbey’s special collections library and read his master’s thesis on anarchism and an unpublished novel. I visited his first home in Pennsylvania and many of his Desert Southwest homes. Along the way, I found the spirit of Abbey and the American Southwest. Finding Abbey won the National Outdoor Book Award.

Sean's book list on reads by or about to Edward Abbey

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Why this book?

This is the book that made Edward Abbey and Arches National Park famous and is considered the Walden (from Henry David Thoreau) of the Desert Southwest.

Essay by essay, Abbey shows us Arches, Canyonlands National Park, and more of the Desert Southwest through stunningly lyrical and brilliant writing. An American classic and also the book that introduced me to Edward Abbey.

After I read this book, I was hooked on Abbey and desperate to explore the Desert Southwest.

Desert Solitaire

By Edward Abbey,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Desert Solitaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'My favourite book about the wilderness' Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

In this shimmering masterpiece of American nature writing, Edward Abbey ventures alone into the canyonlands of Moab, Utah, to work as a seasonal ranger for the United States National Park Service.

Living out of a trailer, Abbey captures in rapt, poetic prose the landscape of the desert; a world of terracotta earth, empty skies, arching rock formations, cliffrose, juniper, pinyon pine and sand sage. His summers become spirit quests, taking him in search of wild horses and Ancient Puebloan petroglyphs, up mountains and across tribal lands, and down the…


The Immeasurable World

By William Atkins,

Book cover of The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places

Nick Hunt Author Of Outlandish: Walking Europe’s Unlikely Landscapes

From the list on edeserts that capture their beauty and loneliness.

Who am I?

Nick Hunt is a walker and writer about the landscapes and cultures of Europe. He is the author of Walking the Woods and the Water, Where the Wild Winds Are (both finalists for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year), and a work of gonzo ornithology, The Parakeeting of London. His latest book, Outlandish, is an exploration of four of the continent’s strangest and most unlikely landscapes: arctic tundra in Scotland, primeval forest in Poland and Belarus, Europe’s only true desert in Spain, and the grassland steppes of Hungary.

Nick's book list on edeserts that capture their beauty and loneliness

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Why this book?

Long fascinated by the accounts of travellers drawn to the world’s arid zones, as if by a strange magnetism, William Atkins immerses himself in deserts from Oman to Australia, Kazakhstan to the United States. The book is both a study of extreme environments and a deeply personal journey that often touches on the political: the Australian chapter becomes an excoriating attack on the British government’s use of the desert as a nuclear testing ground, which devastated Aboriginal communities. There are also some extremely funny parts, as when Atkins ends up in the debauchery of Nevada’s Burning Man festival, surely the most reluctant and awkward festival-goer who has ever graced its playa.

The Immeasurable World

By William Atkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE STANFORD DOLMAN TRAVEL WRITING AWARD 2019

One third of the earth's land surface is desert, much of it desolate and inhospitable.

What is it about this harsh environment that has captivated humankind throughout history?

Travelling to five continents over three years, William Atkins discovers a realm that is as much internal as physical. From the contested borderlands of the USA to Australia's nuclear test zones, via Nevada's riotous Burning Man festival and the ancient monasteries of Egypt, he illuminates the people, history, nature and symbolism of these remarkable but often volatile places.


The Oblivion Seekers

By Isabelle Eberhardt,

Book cover of The Oblivion Seekers

Nick Hunt Author Of Outlandish: Walking Europe’s Unlikely Landscapes

From the list on edeserts that capture their beauty and loneliness.

Who am I?

Nick Hunt is a walker and writer about the landscapes and cultures of Europe. He is the author of Walking the Woods and the Water, Where the Wild Winds Are (both finalists for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year), and a work of gonzo ornithology, The Parakeeting of London. His latest book, Outlandish, is an exploration of four of the continent’s strangest and most unlikely landscapes: arctic tundra in Scotland, primeval forest in Poland and Belarus, Europe’s only true desert in Spain, and the grassland steppes of Hungary.

Nick's book list on edeserts that capture their beauty and loneliness

Discover why each book is one of Nick's favorite books on edeserts that capture their beauty and loneliness .

Why this book?

With vivid, dream-like lucidity, these vignettes, stories and fragments describe the life and adventures of a truly extraordinary traveller: the daughter of Russian nihilists who moved to North Africa at the end of the nineteenth century, dressed and lived as a man, drank and smoked kif to excess, had numerous affairs, converted to Islam, was initiated into a Sufi sect, survived an assassination attempt and died in a freak flash flood at the age of only twenty-seven. The writing that survives is as fierce and as gloriously intense as the desert itself.

The Oblivion Seekers

By Isabelle Eberhardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stories and journal notes by an extraordinary young woman-adventurer and traveler, Arabic scholar, Sufi mystic and adept of the Djillala cult.

"Not long before her death Isabelle Eberhardt wrote: "No one ever lived more from day to day or was more dependent upon chance. It is the inescapable chain of events that has brought me to this point, rather than I who have caused these things to happen." Her life seems haphazard, at the mercy of caprice, but her writings prove otherwise. She did not make decisions; she was impelled to take action. Her nature combined an extraordinary singlness of…


Wind, Sand and Stars

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

Book cover of Wind, Sand and Stars

Kelly Cordes Author Of The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre

From the list on belief and finding meaning from the meaningless.

Who am I?

Some thirty years ago, on a frozen waterfall near an old logging town in Montana, my life changed forever. A friend took me climbing. Almost instantly, upon leaving the ground, the mountains became my singular passion. I lived in run-down shacks and worked dead-end jobs, freeing myself to travel and to climb. Along the way I stumbled into an editorial job with the American Alpine Journal, where I worked for twelve years, deepening my knowledge of mountains, including the incomparable Cerro Torre. I know that climbing is overtly pointless. What we gain from it, however—what it demands and what we give in return—has immeasurable power.

Kelly's book list on belief and finding meaning from the meaningless

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Why this book?

Saint-Exupery’s descriptions of what he sees and feels during enthralling activities amid stunning landscapes left me enchanted. The feelings he captures extend beyond the mere act of flying and into human relationships and our quest for meaning, written in beautiful, often philosophical prose. He approached flying as a metaphor for life and the human condition. Even if I will never fly, he made me care. 

Wind, Sand and Stars

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wind, Sand and Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The National Book Award-winning autobiographical book about the wonder of flying from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the beloved children's classic The Little Prince.

A National Geographic Top Ten Adventure Book of All Time

Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

Translated by Lewis Galantière.

"There are certain rare individuals...who by the mere fact of their existence put…


Greenmantle

By John Buchan,

Book cover of Greenmantle

Eugene Rogan Author Of The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

From the list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East.

Who am I?

As a professional historian of the Middle East, I’ve long recognized WWI as a vital turning point in the region’s history, when the ancient Ottoman Empire fell and the modern states of the Middle East took its place. Based in Oxford, I am particularly aware of this university’s role in shaping so many of those whose book captured the British experience of the Ottoman Front. But there’s also an element of family history behind my fascination, as in following the story of my great-uncle’s death in Gallipoli in 1915, I came to appreciate the magnitude of sacrifice suffered by all sides in the Great War in the Middle East.

Eugene's book list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East

Discover why each book is one of Eugene's favorite books on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East .

Why this book?

John Buchan served in the War Propaganda Bureau during WWI, crafting press releases that sought to preserve public morale against the terrible losses on the Western Front. Already a successful novelist, he created a new character named Richard Hannay who starred in his 1915 adventure thriller The Thirty Nine Steps. Hannay was so popular that Buchan revived him for a 1916 sequel set in the Ottoman Empire that proved an enduring classic: Greenmantle. Through his work in intelligence and propaganda, Buchan was aware of British war planners’ concerns that the Ottoman call for jihad that followed their declaration of war might provoke colonial Muslims to rise against the Entente Powers in India, Egypt, North Africa, and the Caucasus. He captured British fears of an Ottoman-inspired jihad inflaming Indian Muslims with the memorably Orientalist line: “There is a dry wind blowing through the East, and the parched grasses wait the spar.…

Greenmantle

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Christopher Hitchens. Richard Hannay is tasked to investigate rumours of an uprising in the Muslim world and takes off on a hair-raising journey through German-occupied Europe to meet up with his old friend Sandy Arbuthnot in Constantinople, where they must thwart the Germans' plans to use religion to help them win the war. Set during World War I, Greenmantle is a controversial meditation on the power of political Islam.


The Secret Battle

By A.P. Herbert,

Book cover of The Secret Battle

Eugene Rogan Author Of The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

From the list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East.

Who am I?

As a professional historian of the Middle East, I’ve long recognized WWI as a vital turning point in the region’s history, when the ancient Ottoman Empire fell and the modern states of the Middle East took its place. Based in Oxford, I am particularly aware of this university’s role in shaping so many of those whose book captured the British experience of the Ottoman Front. But there’s also an element of family history behind my fascination, as in following the story of my great-uncle’s death in Gallipoli in 1915, I came to appreciate the magnitude of sacrifice suffered by all sides in the Great War in the Middle East.

Eugene's book list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East

Discover why each book is one of Eugene's favorite books on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East .

Why this book?

Herbert served as a junior infantry officer in Gallipoli and captured his experiences in one of the grittiest and most credible accounts of the horrors of that campaign in this early anti-war novel. His hero is a brilliant young Oxford graduate (Herbert was himself an Oxford man and served as MP representing the University of Oxford from 1925 – 1940) named Harry Penrose who suffered fear, doubt, and mental illness on both the Ottoman and Western Fronts – like so many of his contemporaries. Herbert captures the injustice of wartime courts-martial in which gallant officers were condemned for failing to carry out unreasonable orders. “That is the gist of it,” the narrator concludes in the novel, “that my friend Harry was shot for cowardice – and he was one of the bravest men I ever knew.”

The Secret Battle

By A.P. Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The Secret Battle should be read in each generation, so that men and women may rest under no illusion about what war means, a soldier’s tale cut in stone to melt all hearts.”

—Sir Winston Churchill

Originally published in 1919, The Secret Battle honestly portrays the mental horrors World War I inflicted upon soldiers. Harry Penrose is an Oxford student who enlists in 1914. He’s hard working, modest, and dutiful but struggles to cope with the toll of war. During the Battle of Gallipoli, Penrose seeks refuge to avoid shellfire, but another officer sees him and accuses Penrose of desertion.…


Five Years in Turkey

By Liman von Sanders,

Book cover of Five Years in Turkey

Eugene Rogan Author Of The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

From the list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East.

Who am I?

As a professional historian of the Middle East, I’ve long recognized WWI as a vital turning point in the region’s history, when the ancient Ottoman Empire fell and the modern states of the Middle East took its place. Based in Oxford, I am particularly aware of this university’s role in shaping so many of those whose book captured the British experience of the Ottoman Front. But there’s also an element of family history behind my fascination, as in following the story of my great-uncle’s death in Gallipoli in 1915, I came to appreciate the magnitude of sacrifice suffered by all sides in the Great War in the Middle East.

Eugene's book list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East

Discover why each book is one of Eugene's favorite books on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East .

Why this book?

For all the interest in the British experience of the Great War in the Middle East, there are precious few books that captured the other side of the trenches in the immediate aftermath of the war. Liman von Sanders was one of the few. His book first appeared in German in 1919, but was published in English eight years later and gave American and British readers their first real sense of the Ottoman and German experience of the war. Liman began service in Ottoman domains as the head of a German military mission to rebuild the Turkish Army after the catastrophic Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. Given all he knew about the low level of Ottoman war preparedness, he was outspoken against concluding an alliance to draw Turkey into the Central Alliance. But once the die was cast, Liman threw himself into the Ottoman war effort with all he had. The…

Five Years in Turkey

By Liman von Sanders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Five Years in Turkey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Otto Liman von Sanders (1855 - 1929) will always be associated with the Dardanelles campaign in which he commanded the Turkish Fifth Army, the army that defended Gallipoli, defeated the allied invasion and, after a campaign lasting some eight months (April-December 1915) forced the Allies to give up and withdraw. He was a cavalry officer who was commanding the German 22nd Division in Cassel when, in June 1913, he was offered the post of Chief of a German Military Mission in Turkey: he accepted and took up his post in December of that year and took over command of the…


Book cover of The Road to En-Dor Being an Account of How Two Prisoners of War at Yozgad in Turkey Won Their Way to Freedom

Eugene Rogan Author Of The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

From the list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East.

Who am I?

As a professional historian of the Middle East, I’ve long recognized WWI as a vital turning point in the region’s history, when the ancient Ottoman Empire fell and the modern states of the Middle East took its place. Based in Oxford, I am particularly aware of this university’s role in shaping so many of those whose book captured the British experience of the Ottoman Front. But there’s also an element of family history behind my fascination, as in following the story of my great-uncle’s death in Gallipoli in 1915, I came to appreciate the magnitude of sacrifice suffered by all sides in the Great War in the Middle East.

Eugene's book list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East

Discover why each book is one of Eugene's favorite books on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East .

Why this book?

Jones was a Welshman who served in the Indian Army in Mesopotamia. He was among the 13,000+ officers and men who surrendered at Kut al-Amara in April 1916. However, he has nothing to say of the horrors of the siege of Kut, or the fate that befell common soldiers, many of whom were marched to death in the Syrian desert. As an officer, Jones was dispatched to the relative comfort of a prisoner of war camp in Yozgat, in central Turkey, and his story begins there in 1917. It is a madcap story of how the British prisoners conspired to persuade their Turkish captors that they were mediums and were able to communicate with spirits through a Ouija board. Jones and one of his fellow officers then feigned madness to secure their repatriation to Britain. While there is something of the tone of a public school adventure to it all,…

The Road to En-Dor Being an Account of How Two Prisoners of War at Yozgad in Turkey Won Their Way to Freedom

By Elias Henry Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road to En-Dor Being an Account of How Two Prisoners of War at Yozgad in Turkey Won Their Way to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.


Book cover of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

David Stansfield Author Of The Making of a Suicide Bomber

From the list on understanding the Middle East.

Who am I?

From a young age, I have been obsessed with the Arabic language and culture. In 1959, I studied this language at Durham University, graduating Summa Cum Laude – including living with a Palestinian family in Jerusalem for a number of months. Then moving on to further studies in Arabic at Cambridge University, graduating with a First Class Honors degree. Over the next decades, I have made many trips to the Middle East, working on a number of projects, including stints in North Africa, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jerusalem, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf. Most recently, I served as the Arabic consultant on the Netflix TV series House of Cards.

David's book list on understanding the Middle East

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Why this book?

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe revisits the formation of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint. If this had happened today it would have been called "ethnic cleansing". Totally debunking the myth that the Palestinian population left of their own accord in the course of this war, Ilan Pappe offers stunning archival evidence to show that, from its very inception, a central plank in Israel’s founding ideology was the forcible removal of the indigenous population.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

By Ilan Pappé,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Renowned Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe's groundbreaking book revisits the formation of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint.

Denied for almost six decades, had it happened today it could only have been called "ethnic cleansing". Decisively debunking the myth that the Palestinian population left of their own accord in the course of this war, Ilan Pappe offers impressive archival evidence to demonstrate that, from its very inception, a central plank in Israel's founding ideology…


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