94 books like Under the Mountain Wall

By Peter Matthiessen,

Here are 94 books that Under the Mountain Wall fans have personally recommended if you like Under the Mountain Wall. 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 The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Chiara Terzuolo Author Of Hidden Japan: A guidebook to Tokyo & beyond

From my list on books before visiting Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying Japanese since 2008, studied in the country twice, and then finally made my home here in 2011. Over the years, I have been to 43 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, writing articles about my experiences and constantly searching for new, hidden places where I could still find a touch of the Japan of yore. With so many people visiting the country, I want to do my part to give folks options that are off the beaten path and away from the crowds. 

Chiara's book list on books before visiting Japan

Chiara Terzuolo Why did Chiara love this book?

While, of course, as a fiction book, it gets a bit fantastical at times, this book captures the true oddity and tension of the end of Japan’s sakoku era, when the country was cut off from the world, except for a few highly controlled ports like Dejima in Nagasaki.

I loved how well the author expressed the feeling of time and place and laughed at how some things still haven’t changed. 

By David Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller, from the author of CLOUD ATLAS and THE BONE CLOCKS.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010

'Brilliant' - The Times
'A masterpiece' - Scotsman

Be transported to a place like no other: a tiny, man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, for two hundred years the sole gateway between Japan and the West. Here, in the dying days of the 18th-century, a young Dutch clerk arrives to make his fortune. Instead he loses his heart.

Step onto the streets of Dejima and mingle with scheming traders, spies, interpreters, servants and concubines as two…


Book cover of The Peregrine

Brett Bourbon Author Of Everyday Poetics: Logic, Love, and Ethics

From my list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Poems irritated me as a child. They seemed parodies of counting, chants of rhythm, and repetition. I included them in my moratorium against reading fiction. On the other hand, I respected the alphabet, a kind of poem of pure form. It was orderly for no good reason and didn't mean anything. So I concluded that poems were meaningless forms that had their uses, but were not serious. I changed my mind, but it took a while—studying math and science, theology, and then philosophy and literature. I'm now a professor who studies and teaches modern literature and philosophy. I got my Ph.D. from Harvard, became a professor at Stanford, and teach at the University of Dallas.

Brett's book list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found

Brett Bourbon Why did Brett love this book?

A photograph gives me the form of the bird, but it remains up to me to see the bird as a bird. And that can be difficult. What do we see when we see a bird? 

The Peregrine, J. A. Baker’s masterpiece of descriptive prose, provides an answer, an answer that is as much about how we see as it is about what we see when we see birds. Sometimes we pull ourselves into the sight of others and the world emerges as more than its light. We see by being seen.

Baker achieves this kind of seeing both in his efforts to see a pair of peregrines and in his description of this achievement. 

By J.A. Baker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

David Attenborough reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing.

The nation's greatest voice, David Attenborough, reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing, The Peregrine.

J. A. Baker's classic of British nature writing was first published in 1967. Greeted with acclaim, it went on to win the Duff Cooper Prize, the pre-eminent literary prize of the time. Luminaries such as Ted Hughes, Barry Lopez and Andrew Motion have cited it as one of the most important books in twentieth-century nature writing.

Despite the association of peregrines with the wild, outer reaches of the British Isles,…


Book cover of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia

Vesna Goldsworthy Author Of Iron Curtain: A Love Story

From my list on English women and men in Eastern Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I moved to Britain from Belgrade, then the capital of Yugoslavia, in 1986. Still in my early twenties, I was a published poet in Serbian, but I didn’t dream I would eventually become a novelist in English. I devoured any English book that dealt with East-West encounters. I must have read several hundred as I researched my first book, Inventing Ruritania, a cultural study of the “Wild East”. I returned to them when I wrote Iron Curtain, a novel about a “Red Princess” from an unnamed East European country who marries an impecunious English poet. I sometimes thought of it as Ruritania writes back.

Vesna's book list on English women and men in Eastern Europe

Vesna Goldsworthy Why did Vesna love this book?

This book about Yugoslavia is my favourite work of travel writing, all the more remarkable for being written during the Blitz, amid the sound of bombs raining over London.

It is half-a-million words long and it deals with a country that doesn’t exist anymore – but don’t let that put you off. Historians and critics have called Black Lamb and Grey Falcon the greatest travel book of the twentieth century and I agree.

Rebecca West discovered Yugoslavia on the eve of the Second World War because – in the growing certainty of the apocalypse which was facing Europe – she wanted to write about a small country and its relationship with great empires.

Yugoslavia seemed at first an almost accidental choice but it changed her life. 

By Rebecca West,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Black Lamb and Grey Falcon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Impossible to put down' Observer
'One of the great books of the century' Times Literary Supplement

Rebecca West's epic masterpiece not only provides deep insight into the former country of Yugoslavia; it is a portrait of Europe on the brink of war. A heady cocktail of personal travelogue and historical insight, this product of an implacably inquisitive intelligence remains essential for anyone attempting to understand the history of the Balkan states, and the wider ongoing implications for a fractured Europe.


Book cover of Between the Woods and the Water

Jonathan Meiburg Author Of A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey

From my list on taking you to another world.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you’re curious about the world, you can find secret doors that open onto sudden vistas. For me, exploring the lives and origins of the caracaras unveiled an astonishing story about life on Earth—and though the books in my list are mostly nonfiction, they all explore real worlds as absorbing as any fantasy. 

Jonathan's book list on taking you to another world

Jonathan Meiburg Why did Jonathan love this book?

This book is the second in a trilogy about a long journey Fermor made—mostly on foot—from Holland to Istanbul in 1934, when he was nineteen years old. Fermor wrote the books from memory many years afterward, so their veracity is open to question, but his imagination and skill aren't: he might resent the comparison, but his books gave me the same thrills as an adult that I remember from my parents reading The Lord of the Rings to me as a child. Though all three are astounding, Between the Woods and the Water is my favorite— it begins as he crosses the Danube into Hungary from the west, follows him across Romania, and ends up in the Balkans, a region that would soon be transformed (and, in part, erased) by World War II. Fermor knows that too, but he doesn't mention it: he lets the places he walks through and…

By Patrick Leigh Fermor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between the Woods and the Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed travel writer's youthful journey - as an 18-year-old - across 1930s Europe by foot began in A Time of Gifts, which covered the author's exacting journey from the Lowlands as far as Hungary.

Picking up from the very spot on a bridge across the Danube where his readers last saw him, we travel on with him across the great Hungarian Plain on horseback, and over the Romanian border to Transylvania.

The trip was an exploration of a continent which was already showing signs of the holocaust which was to come. Although frequently praised for his lyrical writing, Fermor's…


Book cover of Four Corners: One Woman's Solo Journey Into the Heart of New Guinea

C L Stambush Author Of Untethered: A Woman’s Search for Self on the Edge of India

From my list on solo travel memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for proving women can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone they want! I’ve lived in, worked in, and explored more than 20 countries, traveling by foot, train, truck, bus, boat, camel, donkey cart, and motorcycle. I’m an award-winning creative nonfiction writer and a former National Motorcycle Instructor. My writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, Far Eastern Economic Review, Travelers’ Tales, and more. I'm a Hedgebrook Writers’ Colony alumna and hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University and a master’s degree in creative nonfiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Untethered: A Woman’s Search for Self on the Edge of India—A Travel Memoir is my first book.

C L's book list on solo travel memoirs

C L Stambush Why did C L love this book?

A story about a white, 24-year-old woman traveling alone in a country where some still practice cannibalism begs to be read. Kira Salak sets out solo in a dugout canoe in Papua New Guinea simply to prove a woman can go anywhere and do anything she wants. In her narrative, she describes the people and wildlife she encounters vividly. I learned a thing or two about hippopotami and concluded I don’t want to run into any in the wild. While she explores her inner thoughts, family life, and what compelled her to do such a thing, it is her physical journey that propelled me to keep reading. I wanted to know what happened next!

By Kira Salak,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following the route taken by British explorer Ivan Champion in 1927, and amid breathtaking landscapes and wildlife, Salak traveled across this remote Pacific island-often called the last frontier of adventure travel--by dugout canoe and on foot. Along the way, she stayed in a village where cannibalism was still practiced behind the backs of the missionaries, met the leader of the OPM--the separatist guerrilla movement opposing the Indonesian occupation of Western New Guinea--and undertook an epic trek through the jungle.

The New York Times said "Kira Salak is tough, a real-life Lara Croft." And Edward Marriott, proclaimed Four Corners to be…


Book cover of A Few Months in New Guinea

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

Stone, writing in the 1880s, describes the unexplored mystery, foreboding tropical weather, and long-ignored people of New Guinea. Since its “discovery” by European explorers, the New Guinea climate was known to be inhospitable to westerners. This book began to inform me of the world into which my father was sent as an Army Air Corps pilot. Even as late as 1944 he flew with emergency survival maps with vast swathes of the country completely blank, marked “Unexplored.” 

By Octavius C. Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Few Months in New Guinea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Excerpt from A Few Months in New Guinea

With so many competitors in the field, it seems strange that, until the last few years, no one should have succeeded in journeying more than fifteen miles inland; and though this distance has now been much exceeded, a vast area still remains unexplored.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged…


Book cover of War at the End of the World: Douglas MacArthur and the Forgotten Fight For New Guinea, 1942-1945

Robert N. Wiedenmann Author Of The Silken Thread: Five Insects and Their Impacts on Human History

From my list on the history we never learned.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a historian. I am a retired entomologist with a love for history. My first real experience with history was as a child, reading about Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure on the Endurance—a story I must have re-read 50 times. I have come to recognize that much of the history I learned growing up was either incomplete or was just plain wrong. I am drawn to the arcane aspects of historical events, or that illustrate history from a different angle—which is shown in my list of books. The Silken Thread tells about the history that occurred because of, or was impacted by, just five insects.

Robert's book list on the history we never learned

Robert N. Wiedenmann Why did Robert love this book?

I thought I knew a thing or two about the history of World War II. Somehow, the battle for New Guinea escaped me, despite the role played by the American General, Douglas MacArthur. Significant as a turning point in the war and enabling MacArthur's return to the Philippines, the fight in New Guinea deserves mention in the same breath as the stepping-stone battles of the Pacific islands. The fighting was brutal and the conditions for both Japanese and Allied troops were horrid—trails ascending rugged mountains, supply-chain difficulties, diseases that diminished the abilities of troops to fight. I have been to New Guinea twice. Duffy captured the ruggedness of the land and his telling of the stories made me feel the place, the people, and their challenges.

By James P. Duffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A harrowing account of an epic, yet nearly forgotten, battle of World War II—General Douglas MacArthur's four-year assault on the Pacific War's most hostile battleground: the mountainous, jungle-cloaked island of New Guinea.

“A meaty, engrossing narrative history… This will likely stand as the definitive account of the New Guinea campaign.”—The Christian Science Monitor 

One American soldier called it “a green hell on earth.” Monsoon-soaked wilderness, debilitating heat, impassable mountains, torrential rivers, and disease-infested swamps—New Guinea was a battleground far more deadly than the most fanatical of enemy troops. Japanese forces numbering some 600,000 men began landing in January 1942, determined…


Book cover of Air Combat at 20 Feet: Selected Missions from a Strafer Pilot's Diary

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

I consider Garrett Middlebrook to be the Wilfred Owens (poet) of WWII. He is a man with a conscience and a moral code who explains what it meant to be a combat pilot in New Guinea. He describes various life-threatening mission against a superior enemy. But on the other hand, struggles with the fact that he is killing other men, in other uniforms, who like himself are just doing their jobs. He chafes at orders to kill civilian contractors (conscripted Chinese) working for the Japanese in New Guinea. He recoils from celebrations after the battle of the Bismarck Sea because he felt no joy after witnessing the vivid destruction of enemy men and equipment. 

Book cover of Euphoria

D.J. Green Author Of No More Empty Spaces

From my list on fiction books where science plays a main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an avid reader of fiction and kind of a nerd, too, so I love books with science in them. I’m a scientist myself, now retired from a career in environmental and engineering geology. I am fascinated by the Earth and the geologic processes that shape it, from the seemingly mundane (like erosion) to the remarkable (like earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions). As a writer, I try to translate that wonder for non-scientist readers, all wrapped up in a compelling story. Each book on this list sure does that, weaving science into the fabric of a gripping narrative. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

D.J.'s book list on fiction books where science plays a main character

D.J. Green Why did D.J. love this book?

I’m not a big reader of historical fiction, but this book was a big exception to that.

Nell Stone, inspired by renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, is thoroughly engaging. And so is the portrayal of the science of anthropology and how it was done, for better or worse, in the 1930s.

Like all the books on this list, you don’t need to know about the science in the book's pages before being swept into the story. The characters taught me what I needed to know, all without me realizing it, as they made their way up rivers, into indigenous cultures, and meandered through their own messy lives.

By Lily King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller

From the author of Writers & Lovers, Euphoria is Lily King's gripping novel inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

'Pretty much perfect' - Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Rodham

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months…


Book cover of Macarthur's Victory: The War in New Guinea, 1943-1944

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

This book gave me a basic understanding of the New Guinea war into which my father was sent. It gave me the framework with which I could piece together the timeline of my father’s service. It gave me an idea of the progress of the war and a context for all of his military orders, his stacks of correspondence, and all of his photos, long stored away in his Navigation Case.

By Harry Gailey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Macarthur's Victory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A GREAT WARRIOR AT THE PEAK OF HIS POWERS

In March 1942, General Douglas MacArthur faced an enemy who, in the space of a few months, captured Malaya, Burma, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and, from their base at Raubaul in New Britain, threaten Australia. Upon his retreat to Australia, MacArthur hoped to find enough men and matérielfor a quick offensive against the Japanese. Instead, he had available to him only a small and shattered air force, inadequate naval support, and an army made up almost entirely of untried reservists.

Here is one of history’s most controversial commanders battling…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Papua New Guinea, the Stone Age, and the Pacific War in WW2?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Papua New Guinea, the Stone Age, and the Pacific War in WW2.

Papua New Guinea Explore 10 books about Papua New Guinea
The Stone Age Explore 15 books about the Stone Age
The Pacific War In WW2 Explore 46 books about the Pacific War in WW2