10 books like Trace

By Lauret Savoy,

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

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Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

When I began to research why we hate so many animals in our lives, I quickly came to realize that a lot of the scientific and common thinking about animals and their place in our world is based on some very Western, white worldviews. Braiding Sweetgrass is a great introduction to traditional ecological knowledge, showing that there’s more than one way to see our relationships with our environments, and how a different perspective leads to radically different actions. It is also just beautiful to read. Reading this book is like reading a meadow in summer, a sensual experience as much as it is educational. 

Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,

Book cover of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

This is the correct history of the United States told from an Indigenous perspective. Spanning four centuries of violence, genocide, and devastation of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and economies, this book debunks the myth that the United States was formed as a democracy for all. Dunbar-Ortiz chronicles how the Doctrine of Discovery made the conquest and subjugation of Indigenous peoples a holy war.  She writes like a poet, squeezing lots of material into a small space—an essential read for those who want the truth about our country. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo) and Jean Mendoza adapted the book for young people in a 2019 edition.

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller

Now part of the HBO docuseries "Exterminate All the Brutes," written and directed by Raoul Peck

Recipient of the American Book Award

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples
 
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortizoffers a history…


Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

By Joe Sacco, Chris Hedges,

Book cover of Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

An illustrated book of long-form nonfiction that examines poor Black, Indigenous, White, and Migrant communities in the United States, and how they have all been broken by extractive capitalism and racist public policy. Hedges’ writing is intentionally polemical, designed to shatter any illusions about the welfare of our fellow citizens living in communities ruined by racism and industrial-scale environmental degradation. Sacco’s long-form graphic illustrations are equally haunting. I’ve taught this book continually for many years.

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

By Joe Sacco, Chris Hedges,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com and the Washington Post Three years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the…


Waste

By Catherine Coleman Flowers,

Book cover of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret

One of the most important new issues faced by rights advocates is climate change. Macarthur genius award-winner Catherine Coleman Flowers is on the front line of that fight, based on her own childhood as the daughter of an activist Black family in Lowndes County, Alabama. This memoir captures Flowers’ essence: someone who just can’t let an injustice slide by. And she will talk to anyone who might be able to help, including with cleaning up the raw sewage that continues to poison the homes of many poor Alabamians. Flowers clearly describes the link between local rights issues and the global campaign to deal with climate change.

Waste

By Catherine Coleman Flowers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The MacArthur grant-winning environmental justice activist's riveting memoir of a life fighting for a cleaner future for America's most vulnerable

A Smithsonian Magazine Top Ten Best Science Book of 2020

Catherine Coleman Flowers, a 2020 MacArthur "genius," grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that's been called "Bloody Lowndes" because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it's Ground Zero for a new movement that is also Flowers's life's work-a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor,…


Arctic Dreams

By Barry Lopez,

Book cover of Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

After I graduated from college, I moved to Alaska as an AmeriCorps volunteer teaching adult education classes. Of course, I read every book I could find about Alaska and the arctic, and to this day, Barry Lopez’s classic Arctic Dreams remains one of the best books I’ve ever read. Lopez’s lyrical prose, immersive story-telling, and impeccable research helped me learn as much about the Arctic as I did about the writing craft. Even if you’ll never travel north, this book is simply fantastic. 

Arctic Dreams

By Barry Lopez,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Arctic Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4**

'A master nature writer' (New York Times) provides the ultimate natural, social and cultural history of the Arctic landscape.

The author of Horizon's classic work explores the Arctic landscape and the hold it continues to exert on our imagination.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ROBERT MACFARLANE

Lopez's journey across our frozen planet is a celebration of the Arctic in all its guises. A hostile landscape of ice, freezing oceans and dazzling skyscapes. Home to millions of diverse animals and people. The stage to massive migrations by land, sea and air. The setting of epic exploratory…


Undrowned

By Alexis Pauline Gumbs,

Book cover of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a “queer, black feminist love evangelist and a marine mammal apprentice,” has created an exuberant book—impossible to categorize. Undrowned is everything—a dramatic account of marine mammals’ struggles, a meditation, a call for action, a manifesto, a workbook with activities. Referencing the middle passage as a Black feminist, Gumbs considers the enmeshment of breathing, drowning, and undrowning, looking to “marine mammal kindred” as “teachers, mentors, guides.” I was deeply moved by how this book passionately voices love for whales, dolphins, and seals. But this love isn’t sentimental—it is active. The chapters call readers to do things, such as “listen,” asking how can we “listen across species, across extinction, across harm?” I marvel at Gumbs’ fierce, unabashed love for marine mammals. Gumbs inspires me to take more risks for others.

Undrowned

By Alexis Pauline Gumbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Undrowned is a book-length meditation for social movements and our whole species based on the subversive and transformative guidance of marine mammals. Our aquatic cousins are queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions our species has imposed on the ocean. Gumbs employs a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility and naturalist observation to show what they might teach us, producing not a specific agenda but an unfolding space for wondering and questioning. From the relationship between the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and Gumbs’s Shinnecock and enslaved ancestors to…


Tales of Two Planets

By John Freeman,

Book cover of Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World

Any discussion of how people and nature relate to each other in the twenty-first century will come up against the issue of climate change. And there are so many good books to read on the topic – Elizabeth Rush’s Rising comes right to mind, or the collection All We Can Save, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson. What Tale of Two Planets offers is a global perspective on rising seas, changing seasons, and damaging weather through genres from poetry to prose to fiction. Each author brings clarity to the science and politics of climate change, but the sections here are also portraits of love for place and community. If you’ve never read a book on climate change before, it’s a great start; if you’ve read them all, there’s something new and beautiful here.

Tales of Two Planets

By John Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Building from his acclaimed anthology Tales of Two Americas, beloved writer and editor John Freeman draws together a group of our greatest writers from around the world to help us see how the environmental crisis is hitting some of the most vulnerable communities where they live.

In the past five years, John Freeman, previously editor of Granta, has launched a celebrated international literary magazine, Freeman's, and compiled two acclaimed anthologies that deal with income inequality as it is experienced. In the course of this work, one major theme came up repeatedly: Climate change is making already dire inequalities much worse,…


Desert Cabal

By Amy Irvine,

Book cover of Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness

Published 50 years after Desert Solitaire, seventh-generation Utah resident Amy Irvine talks about her respect for Abbey’s impact on her life and writing, while also not holding back on lambasting Abbey for his behavior and hypocrisy. Irvine told Orion magazine, “My goal was not to take Abbey down, but rather to make space for other voices and relationships to the natural world.” While Abbey might be the context for the book, Irvine goes on to deliver a fascinating exploration into her own take on the wonders of wilderness. She can be as hard on herself as she is on Abbey. This book is a great contemporary look at a key question for those of us who explore the wilds: How do we keep from loving it to death? 

Desert Cabal

By Amy Irvine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A grief–stricken, heart–hopeful, soul song to the American Desert."

—PAM HOUSTON, author of Deep Creek

As Ed Abbey’s Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness turns fifty, its iconic author, who has inspired generations of rebel–rousing advocacy on behalf of the American West, is due for a tribute as well as a talking to. In Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness, Amy Irvine admires the man who influenced her life and work while challenging all that is dated—offensive, even—between the covers of Abbey's environmental classic. Irvine names and questions the "lone male" narrative—white and privileged as it is—that…


The Promise of Wilderness

By James Morton Turner,

Book cover of The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964

At times, what we most need is a deeply researched, carefully argued, and exhaustively covered history of a topic. Turner provides that essential guidebook to wilderness politics after the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. Cutting through slogans and ideology, Turner shows pragmatic strategies, evolving practices, and the political nature of wilderness. I turn to The Promise of Wilderness whenever I want to know what happened and why it mattered. And also, because Turner sees wilderness activism as a key component to modern democracy, a lesson in engaged citizenship—and that inspires me. 

The Promise of Wilderness

By James Morton Turner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Denali's majestic slopes to the Great Swamp of central New Jersey, protected wilderness areas make up nearly twenty percent of the parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands that cover a full fourth of the nation's territory. But wilderness is not only a place. It is also one of the most powerful and troublesome ideas in American environmental thought, representing everything from sublime beauty and patriotic inspiration to a countercultural ideal and an overextension of government authority.

The Promise of Wilderness examines how the idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands since the passage of…


After Preservation

By Ben A. Minteer (editor), Stephen J. Pyne (editor),

Book cover of After Preservation: Saving American Nature in the Age of Humans

Rarely has a collection of essays inspired and perplexed me as much as this one. One chapter argues one thing; the next argues its near-opposite. And both are persuasive! After Preservation is designed to raise fundamental questions about nature, wilderness, and the Anthropocene without providing definitive answers. I didn’t close the book with answers, but I did close it knowing more, thinking harder, and questioning what I believed. If we are meant to save nature—or if we are merely meant to understand why that’s a fraught concept—we’ll need to grapple with ideas and practicalities like these authors do. 

After Preservation

By Ben A. Minteer (editor), Stephen J. Pyne (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From John Muir to the Endangered Species Act, environmentalism in America has always had close to its core a preservationist ideal. Generations have been inspired by its ethos-to protect nature from the march of human development. But we have to face the facts. Accelerating climate change, rapid urbanization, agricultural and industrial devastation, metastasizing fire regimes, and other quickening anthropogenic forces all attest to the same truth: the earth is now spinning through the age of humans. After Preservation takes stock of the ways we have tried to both preserve and exploit nature to ask a direct but profound question: what…


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