10 books like The Control of Nature

By John McPhee,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

A Sand County Almanac

By Aldo Leopold,

Book cover of A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There

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.

A Sand County Almanac

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…


Refuge

By Terry Tempest Williams,

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

Finishing out the nonfiction—though I leave thousands undiscussed here—is Terry Tempest Williams’ seminal Refuge: An Unnatural History of Place. Bold and original in its direct comparisons between the personal and the ecological, the memoir chronicles the deterioration of Williams’ beloved mother, Diane Tempest, to ovarian cancer at the same time their shared landscape, the Bear River marshes of the Great Salt Lake where three generations of the Tempest had gloried in birding expeditions, were succumbing to record flooding. The memoir also details the exposure of Williams and her mother—her entire family—to radioactive fallout from the U.S. government’s atomic testing in the 1950s. Passionate, eloquent, fiery, informative, and wise, it’s a must-read.

Refuge

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


The End of Nature

By Bill McKibben,

Book cover of The End of Nature

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. 

The End of Nature

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…


Propaganda

By Edward Bernays,

Book cover of Propaganda

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. 

Propaganda

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…


Green Deen

By Ibrahim Abdul-Matin,

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

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…

Green Deen

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…


Under a White Sky

By Elizabeth Kolbert,

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

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.

Under a White Sky

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…


Adventures in the Anthropocene

By Gaia Vince,

Book cover of Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made

Gaia’s book came out at a time when climate change wasn’t a hot literary topic and Greta Thunberg hadn’t yet painted “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” on a sign. The Anthropocene marks a new Geological age, the Age of Humans, and Gaia, an editor at Nature, set out to discover what that means for the planet, her, and us. In her words: "I set out to discover whether our species will survive, and how". In so doing she became the first female winner of the Royal Society science book prize.

Adventures in the Anthropocene

By Gaia Vince,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adventures in the Anthropocene as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** Winner of Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2015 **

We live in epoch-making times. The changes we humans have made in recent decades have altered our world beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.6 billion-year history. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing into the Anthropocene - the Age of Humans.

Gaia Vince decided to travel the world at the start of this new age to see what life is really like for the people on the frontline of the planet we've made. From artificial glaciers in the Himalayas to painted mountains in…


Book of Haikus

By Jack Kerouac,

Book cover of Book of Haikus

While Jack Kerouac can arguably be synonymous with the Beat generation, the poems in this collection reveal a lesser-known and seldom seen but poignant side of Kerouac’s legacy. He distills his surroundings into short vignettes, reminiscent of the Beat style and motif, but incorporates a significant amount of nature imagery. They’re beautiful glimpses of the world through the eyes of one of America’s most influential authors.

Book of Haikus

By Jack Kerouac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Above all, a haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi pastorella.' Jack Kerouac. Renowned for his groundbreaking Beat Generation novel "On the Road", Jack Kerouac was also a master of the haiku, the three-line, seventeen-syllable Japanese poetic form. Following in the tradition of Basho, Buson, Shiki, Issa, and other poets, Kerouac experimented with this centuries-old genre, taking it beyond strict syllable counts into what he believed was the form's essence. He incorporated his 'American' haiku in novels and in his correspondence,…


The Destruction of the Bison

By Andrew C. Isenberg,

Book cover of The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750–1920

Economy and ecology are inextricably intertwined in The Destruction of the Bison. Isenberg takes what is a familiar story—the tragic extermination and near-extinction of the plains bison—and turns it into a cautionary tale about the far-reaching ecosystemic effects of unrestrained capitalistic exploitation. But what I like is that Isenberg’s is not just the same old song of Euroamerican rapaciousness and indigenous vulnerability. He details how Native American buffalo hunters played a crucial role in the species’ decline and how environmental change—droughts, population explosions, and animal diseases—interacted with human actions to doom the buffalo.

The Destruction of the Bison

By Andrew C. Isenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For the last twenty years, The Destruction of the Bison has been an essential work in environmental history. Andrew C. Isenberg offers a concise analysis of the near-extinction of the North American bison population from an estimated 30 million in 1800 to fewer than 1000 a century later. His wide-ranging, interdisciplinary study carefully considers the multiple causes, cultural and ecological, of the destruction of the species. The twentieth-anniversary edition includes a new foreword connecting this seminal work to developments in the field - notably new perspectives in Native American history and the rise of transnational history - and placing the…


Andy Goldsworthy

By Andy Goldsworthy,

Book cover of Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature

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.

Andy Goldsworthy

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in nature, protecting the environment, and ecological collapse?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about nature, protecting the environment, and ecological collapse.

Nature Explore 106 books about nature
Protecting The Environment Explore 21 books about protecting the environment
Ecological Collapse Explore 4 books about ecological collapse