100 books like The Making of the English Landscape

By W. G. Hoskins,

Here are 100 books that The Making of the English Landscape fans have personally recommended if you like The Making of the English Landscape. 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 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 Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity

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?

I’ve been lucky enough to hear Paul speak on many occasions. He has a bright engaged manner and restless energy, ideas and examples pouring out almost too quickly to absorb. It’s the intellectual equivalent of standing under a waterfall.

Storied Ground reflects that energy and originality, prompting us to rethink many longstanding assumptions about the relationship between landscape and national identity. Was the English love of landscape a backwards-looking, conservative force, or a reassuring source of continuity that eased our passage into the modern age? Was it true, as Stanley Baldwin once claimed, that ‘England is the country, and the country is England’, or did the civic pride of prospering towns contribute to national identity too?

To these and many other questions, Paul gives surprising, sometimes challenging and always thought-provoking answers.

By Paul Readman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

People have always attached meaning to the landscape that surrounds them. In Storied Ground Paul Readman uncovers why landscape matters so much to the English people, exploring its particular importance in shaping English national identity amid the transformations of modernity. The book takes us from the fells of the Lake District to the uplands of Northumberland; from the streetscapes of industrial Manchester to the heart of London. This panoramic journey reveals the significance, not only of the physical characteristics of landscapes, but also of the sense of the past, collective memories and cultural traditions that give these places their meaning.…


Book cover of The Years of Rice and Salt

Alison McBain Author Of The New Empire

From my list on reimagine the past and see a strange new future.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family could never afford vacations when I was growing up, so I had to travel in my imagination through what I read. But that allowed me even greater freedom—I could go back in time, forward into the future, and everything in between. This skill led me to research and write my books today and have a career as an award-winning author and editor. History, to me, is only one side of the story—what about all the people in the past who never had the chance to speak? Alternate history is a way to explore the voices we’ve never heard except through a writer’s imagination.

Alison's book list on reimagine the past and see a strange new future

Alison McBain Why did Alison love this book?

Complex worldbuilding and the alternate history genre often go hand in hand, and they’re the part I enjoy most when reading reimaginings of our world. This book intertwines history with spirituality and shows how a small set of characters can enact a large change to the universe, which is something that is shown to be both optimistic (if the characters are good) and pessimistic (if the characters are evil/selfish).

It echoes so much of what I believe—that karma is a real force and depends on how it’s released into the world—so I found it refreshing to see these themes echoed in the storyline. History can change life for the better—or the worse—because of what we believe in.

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the incomparable vision and breathtaking detail that brought his now-classic Marstrilogy to vivid life, bestselling author KIM STANLEY ROBINSON boldly imagines an alternate history of the last seven hundred years. In his grandest work yet, the acclaimed storyteller constructs a world vastly different from the one we know....

The Years of Rice and Salt

It is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur–the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe’s population was destroyed. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent…


Book cover of Between Two Fires

Richard Swan Author Of The Tyranny of Faith

From my list on mentor/apprentice relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As writers, one of the things that most commonly unites us is how quickly we are able to point to our favourite teacher from school—almost always our literature teacher. These people instilled in us a love of reading, and encouraged us to explore and hone the craft of writing. I’m always drawn to, and fascinated by, the idea of how certain individuals can impact our lives, this butterfly effect of personal connection. Sometimes these relationships can have very complex dynamics; other times these mentors won’t even know the impact they have had on us. In this list, I have selected five works that I have read recently and which I think examine these relationships masterfully.

Richard's book list on mentor/apprentice relationships

Richard Swan Why did Richard love this book?

One of the most masterfully-wrought novels I’ve had the pleasure to read.

Here we follow a bitter, veteran knight, Thomas, wounded at the Battle of Crecy and divested of his landholdings, as he leaves behind a life of brigandage in order to deliver a young oddball girl to Avignon.

All the while France descends into chaos, not just because of the bubonic plague, but because the forces of heaven and hell are locked in a battle for the fate of humankind. Freighted with pathos and lyrical in its allegory, this is a novel that will both inspire and terrify you.

By Christopher Buehlman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

His extraordinary debut, Those Across the River, was hailed as “genre-bending Southern horror” (California Literary Review), “graceful [and] horrific” (Patricia Briggs). Now Christopher Buehlman invites readers into an even darker age—one of temptation and corruption, of war in heaven, and of hell on earth… And Lucifer said: “Let us rise against Him now in all our numbers, and pull the walls of heaven down…” The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that…


Book cover of Company of Liars: A Novel

S.P. Oldham Author Of Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales

From my list on creepy British ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in South Wales, where ghost stories are cherished. As a child, I spent many a winter evening telling spooky tales with my mum and my sisters, sitting before the fire. We would record them on tape (I am that old) complete with homemade sound effects, then play them back to listen to. I loved the combined fear and excitement these stories instilled in me. My father also loved to read horror and scary fiction, which had some influence on what I chose to read as I grew older. For someone who always loved to write, I think publishing in this genre is simply a natural extension of all that.

S.P.'s book list on creepy British ghost stories

S.P. Oldham Why did S.P. love this book?

As well as horror and the supernatural, I love historical fiction; partly why this book appealed to me. Karen Maitland obviously knows her history, making the background darkly believable.

The story has a bleak setting: Mid-1300s, England. Sustained severe weather leads to widespread starvation and poverty. A mean-spirited man who owns a horse and cart finds himself travelling with a group of misfits, including a distinctly odd, very creepy, little girl. 

All the characters have intriguing secrets in their pasts. I really enjoyed finding out about them, who they really are, what they are running away from. They are all trying to outrun the Plague, which is never far behind for the whole story, almost like a living entity itself.

I still think about this book from time to time, especially the ending, but no spoilers here.

By Karen Maitland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this extraordinary novel, Karen Maitland delivers a dazzling reinterpretation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—an ingenious alchemy of history, mystery, and powerful human drama.

The year is 1348. The Black Plague grips the country. In a world ruled by faith and fear, nine desperate strangers, brought together by chance, attempt to outrun the certain death that is running inexorably toward them.

Each member of this motley company has a story to tell. From Camelot, the relic-seller who will become the group’s leader, to Cygnus, the one-armed storyteller . . . from the strange, silent child called Narigorm to a painter and…


Book cover of World Without End

E.L. Daniel Author Of All the Gold in Abbotsford

From my list on where the damsel is not always the one in distress.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a strong, independent woman (*snaps fingers through the air*), yet I adore a soul-sucking romance. Many might think this is a contradiction, but it’s not! A woman can be both loving and stubborn…both enamored by her partner yet still strong enough to speak up for herself. Sadly, I think historical fiction often defaults to portraying dependent and subjugated women, and this isn’t necessarily wrong—in fact, it’s probably more accurate. However, when I’m getting lost in the magic of a novel, I want to experience the all-consuming love without sacrificing the resiliency and independence of the women involved, and these books spin stories where both outcomes are possible!

E.L.'s book list on where the damsel is not always the one in distress

E.L. Daniel Why did E.L. love this book?

There is so much going on in this book in terms of plot, drama, and relationships, but why I especially love it is because Caris, one of the protagonists, breaks the mold of the typical powerless medieval woman. When the Black Plague comes to Kingsbridge, Caris is the only one who uses observation and common sense to realize that the disease spreads by contact. In a world that revolves around religion and superstition, this doesn’t go over well. Though forced to sacrifice the love of her life, and put on trial as a witch, Caris sticks to her guns and enacts the medical policies she knows will save lives. Eventually, she gains the townspeople’s trust, ultimately ascending into a position of power within the town. Get it, girl!

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked World Without End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other…


Book cover of York: The Making of a City 1068-1350

Candace Robb Author Of The Riverwoman's Dragon

From my list on medieval York.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing the Owen Archer mysteries, set in and around the city of York in the late 14th century, for 30 years, ever since falling in love with the city of York on a visit. As I studied medieval literature and culture in graduate school, with a special interest in Chaucer, I’ve focused my research on the period in which he lived. I’ve spent months walking the streets of the city, hiking through the countryside, and meeting with local historians. Besides the 13 Owen Archer mysteries I’ve also published 3 Kate Clifford mysteries covering Richard II’s downfall, both series grounded in the politics and culture of medieval York and Yorkshire. 

Candace's book list on medieval York

Candace Robb Why did Candace love this book?

This is a masterful work covering the period from the Norman conquest to the Black Death. Sarah Rees Jones is one of my go-to scholars for medieval York, as well as an engaging writer. I particularly appreciate her looking beyond the importance of the royal government in the city’s development to include the strong influence of the Minster and other ecclesiastical institutions in the city as well as the significance of the people of York—merchants and craftspeople.

Check here first if you want a feel for how the city grew, who were the makers and shakers, how the neighborhoods developed, where the influential people lived. Every time I dip into this book I learn something new. With 18 useful maps and an extensive bibliography.

By Sarah Rees Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

York was one of the most important cities in medieval England. This original study traces the development of the city from the Norman Conquest to the Black Death. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries are a neglected period in the history of English towns, and this study argues that the period was absolutely fundamental to the development of urban society and that up to now we have misunderstood the reasons for the development of York and its significance within our
history because of that neglect.

Medieval York argues that the first Norman kings attempted to turn the city into a true…


Book cover of Conquests, Catastrophe and Recovery: Britain and Ireland 1066–1485

Marc Morris Author Of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England

From my list on medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into medieval history from the moment I arrived at university, when I looked at a lecture list that included the Norman Conquest, King John and Magna Carta, Edward I – in short, the subjects of the books I have gone on to write. The attraction for me was that the medieval centuries were formative ones, shaping the countries of the British Isles and the identities of the people within them. After completing my doctorate on the thirteenth-century earls of Norfolk I was keen to broaden my horizons, and presented a TV series about castles, which was a great way to reconnect with the reality of the medieval past.

Marc's book list on medieval Britain

Marc Morris Why did Marc love this book?

This is a fantastic introduction to what was going on in the British Isles during the medieval period. The scholarship is up-to-the-minute, the writing is witty and engaging, and it is teeming with original ideas. It’s not a political history, plodding predictably from one reign to the next, but a sweeping overview, covering diverse topics such as the decline of slavery, the rise of parliament, kingship and queenship, religion, education, leisure, crime, and chivalry.

By John Gillingham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning with the Norman Conquest of England, these tumultuous centuries and their invasions shaped the languages and political geography of present-day Britain and Ireland.

The Irish, Scots and Welsh fought their battles against the English with varying success - struggles which, like the events of 1066 in England, produced spectacular upheavals and left enduring national memories. But there was still a common enemy: the Black Death - still the greatest catastrophe in their history.

There were significant advances, too. Hundreds of new towns were founded; slavery, still prevalent until the twelfth century, died out; magnificent cathedrals built, schools and universities…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Black Death, the Industrial Revolution, and the Middle Ages?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Black Death, the Industrial Revolution, and the Middle Ages.

The Black Death Explore 33 books about the Black Death
The Industrial Revolution Explore 75 books about the Industrial Revolution
The Middle Ages Explore 415 books about the Middle Ages