100 books like The Control of Nature

By John McPhee,

Here are 100 books that The Control of Nature fans have personally recommended if you like The Control of Nature. 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 A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There

Greg M. Peters Author Of Our National Forests: Stories from America's Most Important Public Lands

From my list on people who love outdoors and want to learn more.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love being outdoors and I’ve been fortunate to spend much of life under the open sky, both professionally and personally. Learning about the landscapes I’ve visited on my outdoor adventures or helped protect through my professional conservation and writing work is both fulfilling and inspiring. Skilled writers deepen my understanding of the diverse, intricate, and complicated natural world. Whether I’m reading to better understand the policies and histories that have shaped our public lands or about the adventurers who inspire me to get out there, I always find immense value and enjoyment when reading about the landscapes we share. 

Greg's book list on people who love outdoors and want to learn more

Greg M. Peters Why did Greg love this book?

Aldo Leopold was a Forest Service ranger stationed in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest when he first began advocating for a new approach to managing national forests. Leopold’s visionary thinking and diligent advocacy resulted in the first-ever Wilderness Area in the U.S.—the Gila Wilderness Area, established in 1922—more than 40 years before the Wilderness Act was passed by Congress in 1964. A Sand County Almanac is Leopold’s best-known work and follows his efforts to restore a patch of cut-over farmland in Wisconsin while also articulating his vision of a land ethic where humans and nature are intertwined and care for people cannot be separated from care for the land. His beautiful writing resonated strongly with me when I first read A Sand County Almanac more than two decades ago, and his vision remains as important now as ever.

By Aldo Leopold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac has enthralled generations of nature lovers and conservationists and is indeed revered by everyone seriously interested in protecting the natural world. Hailed for prose that is "full of beauty and vigor and bite" (The New York Times), it is perhaps the finest example of nature writing since Thoreau's Walden.
Now this classic work is available in a completely redesigned and lavishly illustrated gift edition, featuring over one hundred beautiful full-color pictures by Michael Sewell, one of the country's leading nature photographers. Sewell, whose work has graced the pages of Audubon and Sierra magazines, walked…


Book cover of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Andrea Lani Author Of Uphill Both Ways: Hiking toward Happiness on the Colorado Trail

From my list on women in the wild.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Colorado gal living in Maine, where I make the most of the long winters and gloomy springs by spending as much time as I can outside in our 20 acres of woods and fields. I hiked the Colorado Trail twice, in 1996 with my husband and in 2016 with my husband and three kids. My book tells the story of this second hike, as well as the natural and environmental history of Colorado. I’m a Maine Master Naturalist, and I’m passionate about connecting people to the natural world through nature journaling and nature writing workshops.

Andrea's book list on women in the wild

Andrea Lani Why did Andrea love this book?

The book, which I first read as an assignment in a college class, was my first introduction to both personal narrative and nature writing, and I was hooked. I decided right then and there that I wanted to explore the natural world and write about it when I grew up.

I was—and still am—enamored by Williams’s descriptions of wild birds, the desert landscape around Great Salt Lake, and the solace she derived from the natural world as she faced her mother’s and grandmother’s illnesses. Williams’ lyrical writing and deep knowledge of and love for her home landscape are a constant source of inspiration for my own writing and living.

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms…


Book cover of The End of Nature

Todd Dufresne Author Of The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene

From my list on how bad climate change is for life on Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Climate Studies is a massive, cross-disciplinary field that exceeds the grasp of everyone involved, myself included. I start from my home discipline, philosophy, and follow the leads wherever they take me—a practice I learned from decades as a Freud scholar. The climate books I admire most are those that take this vast literature and synthesize the issues. This means I admire and respect the work being done by smart journalists like McKibben, Klein, and Wallace-Wells, who are perfect jumping-off points to thinking carefully about the future of life today. They are the ‘journalist-philosophers’ who are attempting these essential first drafts of history. Start with them and see where it all leads. 

Todd's book list on how bad climate change is for life on Earth

Todd Dufresne Why did Todd love this book?

McKibben is an American journalist, researcher, and founder of the environmental organization 350.org. His End of Nature is one of the first trade books to address climate change. Written in clear, accessible language, McKibben argues that nature has been thoroughly subjected to human forces that forever undermine traditional views of an environment set apart, pristine and original, from the things we have done to it. The biggest thing we’ve done is increase the average temperature above industrial norms, and this book is a classic framing of this issue. 

By Bill McKibben,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the earliest warnings about climate change and one of environmentalism's lodestars

'Nature, we believe, takes forever. It moves with infinite slowness,' begins the first book to bring climate change to public attention.

Interweaving lyrical observations from his life in the Adirondack Mountains with insights from the emerging science, Bill McKibben sets out the central developments not only of the environmental crisis now facing us but also the terms of our response, from policy to the fundamental, philosophical shift in our relationship with the natural world which, he argues, could save us. A moving elegy to nature in its…


Book cover of Propaganda

Renee Hobbs Author Of Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age

From my list on understanding propaganda and persuasion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with propaganda and persuasion since childhood. Growing up in Detroit, our family would watch both American and Canadian TV channels. The TV commercials shown on the American TV channels were noisier, nosier, zanier, and more intrusive than the more sedate and polite forms of persuasion on Canadian shows. Because advertising and propaganda are kissing cousins, I've always appreciated how they shape politics, journalism, entertainment, activism, education, and the arts. Propaganda's greatest (and most dangerous) power is its ability to both unify and divide people, and there's never been a more important time to look carefully at how propaganda is shaping our understanding of reality through the many screens in our lives.

Renee's book list on understanding propaganda and persuasion

Renee Hobbs Why did Renee love this book?

There’s no magic wand, no defensive armor, vaccine, or potion that can inoculate people against the influence of propaganda. But learning about propaganda is essential for people of all ages who want to hold on to their democracy in the face of threats. What will surprise you when you read this classic work, written in 1928, is how timely it remains. Bernays anticipates the rise of influencers and memes because he knows that people rely on thought leaders for most of their opinions and beliefs about the world. But the most important feature of this book is what he has to say about propaganda and democracy. Bernays convinces you that propaganda is not inherently evil, and he even makes the case that propaganda is necessary for democratic societies to flourish. 

By Edward Bernays,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Bernays’ honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies.”—Noam Chomsky

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”—Edward Bernays

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891–1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed “engineering of…


Book cover of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet

Matthew D. LaPlante Author Of Superlative: The Biology of Extremes

From my list on for feeling awestruck about the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent the first decade of my journalistic career focused on calamity, malevolence, and suffering. By my early thirties, I wasn’t just struggling to feel happy about the world — I was struggling to feel anything at all. It was an encounter with awe — a visit to an aspen colony in central Utah that is the world’s largest known singular organism — that jarred me from this increasingly colorless world. As an author, teacher, researcher, and radio host, I strive to connect others with a sense of wonder — and I feel very fortunate that so many other science communicators continually leave me feeling awestruck for this amazing world.  

Matthew's book list on for feeling awestruck about the world

Matthew D. LaPlante Why did Matthew love this book?

It would be easy to pass off this work as a book about the environment for Muslims. And I suppose it is that—an Islamic analog for the growing list of books that implore Christians to view environmental stewardship as an essential tenet of their faith, from authors like Sandra Richter and Fletcher Harper. 

Abdul-Matin's work struck me in another way: As an expanding aperture into the faith of billions of people across this planet. Reading it was reminiscent of my first experience with Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh, which similarly offered me an accessible entryway to a religion I'd previously known very little about, and which permitted me to then dive deeper through other, more challenging works. I read Hoff's book for the first time as a teen-aged sailor onboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, and I have read it several times since. I am certain that…

By Ibrahim Abdul-Matin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Muslim environmentalist explores the fascinating intersection of environmentalism and Islam.
 
Muslims are compelled by their religion to praise the Creator and to care for their community. But what is not widely known is that there are deep and long-standing connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism. In this groundbreaking book, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin draws on research, scripture, and interviews with Muslim Americans to trace Islam’s preoccupation with humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth. 
 
Abdul-Matin points out that the Prophet Muhammad declared “the Earth is a mosque.” Using the concept of Deen, which means “path” or “way” in Arabic, Abdul-Matin…


Book cover of Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Benjamin von Brackel Author Of Nowhere Left to Go: How Climate Change Is Driving Species to the Ends of the Earth

From my list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a science journalist I have concentrated on the consequences of climate change. It´s the most frightening as fascinating experiment, we conduct with our planet. In 2018 I wrote a book on extreme weather together with climate scientist Freddy Otto from the University of Oxford (Angry Weather). After this I got immersed in a different climate consequence: How it is affecting biodiversity and with it the foundation of our societies. But what I also love is good storytelling. I quickly get bored with texts that have no dramaturgy or that don't give the reader any pleasure—unlike the fantastic and highly relevant books on this list.

Benjamin's book list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis

Benjamin von Brackel Why did Benjamin love this book?

I have to start with a confession: I buy many books on the climate and biodiversity crisis—as this is my main focus as a science journalist—but in many cases, I have to quit reading after several chapters. Even if they are of relevance—they often are simply too depressing and a mere accumulation of horrible facts.

This does not apply to the books of Elizabeth Kolbert—which is all the more amazing as her topic is hard stuff: How men alter and destroy nature, which we depend on. But nonetheless: I can´t stop reading it. Kolbert travels far and takes her readers to magical places that appear to be from a different planet. And by this she pulls one deeper and deeper into complicated issues, she manages to explain in a fascinating and readable way.

By Elizabeth Kolbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity’s transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?

RECOMMENDED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND BILL GATES • SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR WRITING • ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, Esquire, Smithsonian Magazine, Vulture, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal • “Beautifully and insistently, Kolbert shows us that it is time to think radically about the ways…


Book cover of Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature

Day Schildkret Author Of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change

From my list on nature, art, and ritual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to discover the healing power of art, nature, and ritual while I was grieving the loss of my father a decade ago. I would go to the park and make impermanent and symmetrical art from found twigs, flowers, pine cones, berries, and leaves as a way to ground, heal my broken heart, and make sense of a chaotic time. Since then, I‘ve made over a thousand nature altars, written a book about it (Morning Altars), and have taught tens of thousands of people around the world to make meaning in their lives through a creative collaboration with the natural world. It still amazes me that something so simple and impermanent can bring such wonder and resilience.

Day's book list on nature, art, and ritual

Day Schildkret Why did Day love this book?

Goldsworthy is the grandfather of impermanent nature art, creating one-of-a-kind ephemeral sculptures out of snow and ice, stone and twigs, leaf and bark. This book carries the quiet intensity of his art that lives at the edge of decay and change. The book wove me into a world of understanding the impermanence in nature through the lens of art being created on the precipice of change. He sculpts spiraling ice crystals just at the time in the morning when the temperature would permit and builds stone structures at the edge of the water, just before the tide would come in and carry it away. Enchanting art, magical photography, a genius in our midst.

By Andy Goldsworthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Illustrates outdoor sculptures created with a range of natural materials, including snow, ice, leaves, rock, clay, stones, feathers, and twigs


Book cover of Reflections from the North Country

Timothy Goodwin Author Of Within These Woods

From my list on to begin understanding interconnectedness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent a career as an educator and writer exploring how it is that we humans are a part of the natural world in which we live. We are all interconnected with each other and with the ecosystem in which we live, be it a “pristine” wilderness or a concreted-over metropolis. This is wisdom that of course has been long known by many peoples throughout history, though something that seems easily forgotten as we bustle our way through life. Through these books, maybe we can begin to remember that interconnectedness. 

Timothy's book list on to begin understanding interconnectedness

Timothy Goodwin Why did Timothy love this book?

I began reading Sig Olson books when I was in high school, prompted by a biology teacher. Olson uses eloquent prose and emotional description to describe the wilderness lake country of Northern Minnesota and Southern Ontario. Over a career of decades he wrote about his experiences in the wilderness and easily brings the reader into his world, allowing them to see it through his eyes and experiences. Reflections is his last book, and is truly just that, reflections of a life lived on the edge of wilderness and the struggles of balancing desires for preservation of wilderness with encroachment of the modern world.

By Sigurd F. Olson, Leslie Kouba (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reflections from the North Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published: 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1976.


Book cover of The Practice of the Wild: Essays

Belden C. Lane Author Of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality

From my list on spirituality and wilderness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Belden Lane is a wilderness backpacker and storyteller who has written extensively on the connections between human spiritual experience and the power of place. As Professor Emeritus of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University he taught theology and spirituality for thirty-five years with the Jesuits. Drawing on backpacking trips in the canyonlands of Utah, the Wind River Range of Wyoming, and the Australian outback, his books include Landscapes of the Sacred, Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice, and The Great Conversation: Nature and the Care of the Soul

Belden's book list on spirituality and wilderness

Belden C. Lane Why did Belden love this book?

A Buddhist activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning beat generation poet, Snyder celebrates “wildness” as a moral principle. It gives value to the living world and invites us to the wild places within, the inner wilderness that carries us beyond the comforting assurances of the mind. He cautions against looking for metaphorical and spiritual meanings “beyond and through” the natural world. This risks our not “seeing what is before our very eyes: plain thusness” … which in itself is more than enough to astound!

By Gary Snyder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"This is an important book for anyone interested in the ethical interrelationships of things, places, and people, and it is a book that is not just read but taken in." ―Library Journal

Featuring a new introduction by Robert Hass, the nine captivatingly meditative essays in The Practice of the Wild display the deep understanding and wide erudition of Gary Snyder in the ways of Buddhist belief, wildness, wildlife, and the world. These essays, first published in 1990, stand as the mature centerpiece of Snyder’s work and thought, and this profound collection is widely accepted as one of the central texts…


Book cover of Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between

Candice Ransom Author Of Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson's Mammoth

From my list on nonfiction children’s break boundaries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 180 books for children, including the classic (30 plus years in print) picture book The Big Green Pocketbook. As a kid, I checked out more nonfiction books than novels. I read about stars, dinosaurs, ice age mammals, rocks, animals, and birds. I wanted to combine all those interests into one job: astronomer-paleontologist-geologist-zoologist-ornithologist, but I couldn’t even afford community college. I became a writer of children’s books, where I could be involved in all of those occupations and more. I’ve written 50 nonfiction books for children and believe the very best books being published for kids today are in the area of children’s narrative nonfiction.

Candice's book list on nonfiction children’s break boundaries

Candice Ransom Why did Candice love this book?

There are many books about Thoreau and Walden, even for kids. But Frederic Tudor? Who is he, and what is his relation to Thoreau? Curiosity led me to pick up this book; the scope of this little-known historical event kept me turning pages. The two characters are introduced in parallel prose poems. A pond, the third character, connects those different people.

I was entranced by the story of the naturalist and the businessman, both influenced by Walden Pond. While Thoreau wrote notes in his journal, Tudor chopped frozen blocks of ice to ship to India. The author balanced the contrasts between the men with a light hand, backdropped by the seasons. Detailed watercolor and pencil art carry the scale of the account from Thoreau’s tiny cabin to Tudor’s ship crossing the equator. This is nonfiction that transcends mere information—a masterful performance.

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, Ashley Benham Yazdani (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Of Walden Pond as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.


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