40 books like Storied Ground

By Paul Readman,

Here are 40 books that Storied Ground fans have personally recommended if you like Storied Ground. 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 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 Memory

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

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

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

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

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

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

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

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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


Book cover of 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 Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Author Of Medicus

From my list on Roman Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Ruth's book list on Roman Britain

Ruth Downie Why did Ruth love this book?

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

By Charlotte Higgins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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


Book cover of The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot

Helen Jukes Author Of A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

From my list on reconnecting with nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Helen's book list on reconnecting with nature

Helen Jukes Why did Helen love this book?

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

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

By Robert Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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

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

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


Book cover of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

Adam M. Sowards Author Of An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: The Wilderness Act and the Fight to Protect Miners Ridge and the Public Interest

From my list on helping you get deep in the wilderness.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first started reading about wilderness, I accepted it as an obvious thing—a place without people. That lasted a short time before I realized the enormous historical complexity of such places. Rather than places without people, without history, without politics, “wilderness” became a laboratory of American society. I tried to capture that vibrancy in my book An Open Pit Visible from the Moon where I showed all the claims various people made on one wilderness area in the North Cascades. I'm a writer, historian, and former college professor who now calls the Skagit Valley of Washington home. As much as I enjoy studying wilderness, I prefer walking through it and noticing what it teaches.

Adam's book list on helping you get deep in the wilderness

Adam M. Sowards Why did Adam love this book?

To read Trace is to go on a mesmerizing journey with the wisest of guides. Savoy searches for American identities, and her own multifaceted ones, in the history and memory of landscapes across the continent. Every turn reveals tragic histories and surprising connections and omissions with the most beautiful language. Savoy excavates the palimpsest of stories embedded in landscapes’ histories in a helpful reminder that “nature” is always entangled with the richness and complexity of human life. With each careful word, Savoy deepened my appreciation for how landscape absorbs and reflects its history—and my admiration for her unbelievable gifts as a writer. Trace is one of those books you can read each year and your respect for it grows and the insights from it enlarge your life every time.

By Lauret Savoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through personal journeys and historical inquiry, this PEN Literary Award finalist explores how America’s still unfolding history and ideas of “race” have marked its people and the land.

Sand and stone are Earth’s fragmented memory. Each of us, too, is a landscape inscribed by memory and loss. One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent’s past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her―paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples…


Book cover of Landscapes of the First World War

Simo Laakkonen Author Of The Long Shadows: A Global Environmental History of the Second World War

From my list on the environmental history of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simo Laakkonen is director of Degree Program in Digital Culture, Landscape and Cultural Heritage, University of Turku, Finland. He is an environmental historian who has specialized among other things on the global environmental history of warfare during Industrial Age. He has coedited on this theme two special issues and three books, the latest one is The Resilient City in World War II: Urban Environmental Histories. He has selected five books that cover some main phases of the long environmental history of wars and mass violence.

Simo's book list on the environmental history of war

Simo Laakkonen Why did Simo love this book?

Numerous books have been written about the slaughter of millions of young men in mud and blood during the First World War.

This is the first book that focuses on the other main actor and victim of this conflict, that is, landscapes.

This coherent and transnational study offers interesting perspectives on how landscapes of war were idealized, mobilized, destroyed, and then remembered around the world. 

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

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Landscapes of the First World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This comparative and transnational study of landscapes in the First World War offers new perspectives on the ways in which landscapes were idealised, mobilised, interpreted, exploited, transformed and destroyed by the conflict. The collection focuses on four themes: environment and climate, industrial and urban landscapes, cross-cultural encounters, and legacies of the war. The chapters cover Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and the US, drawing on a range of approaches including battlefield archaeology, military history, medical humanities, architecture, literary analysis and environmental history.

This volume explores the environmental impact of the war on diverse landscapes and how landscapes shaped soldiers'…


Book cover of 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 Landmarks

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

From my list on nature and the environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Edward's book list on nature and the environment

Edward Struzik Why did Edward love this book?

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

By Robert Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE

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

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

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


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