The best books about North America 📚

Browse the best books on North America as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Wild North Land: Being the Story of a Winter Journey, with Dogs, Across Northern North America

The Wild North Land: Being the Story of a Winter Journey, with Dogs, Across Northern North America

By William Francis Butler

Why this book?

A book that falls between Lummis and Steinbeck chronologically is William Francis Butler’s The Wild North Land: Being the Story of a Winter Journey, with Dogs, Across Northern North America, an account of his retracing of the route of the 18th-century Scottish explorer Alexander McKenzie who traversed much of Canada from Lake Chipewyan in Alberta to the Pacific Ocean. Butler had a dog team whose leader was Cerf-Vola, who distinguished himself for his sagacity and strength. Ultimately, Butler retired him from sled duty to dog companion. That relationship did not prevent Butler from giving the dog to an acquaintance…
From the list:

The best American books on travels with dogs

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Book cover of Friday

Friday

By Robert A. Heinlein

Why this book?

Robert Heinlein excels himself in this story narrated in the first person by a young woman, who is not really a human but rather a synthetic person but one you can relate to. Published in 1982, when much of the technology it describes was not yet in the realm of possibility, this book shows us an image of a chaotic world that may well be in our future. Serious issues sprinkled through this book’s pages are hidden between fun, fast action, a bit of licentious behavior, and some absurdity. Fun is guaranteed.

From the list:

The best realistic science fiction books

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Book cover of Airborne and Allergenic Pollen of North America

Airborne and Allergenic Pollen of North America

By Walter H. Lewis, Prathibha Vinay, Vincent E. Zenger

Why this book?

Airborne and Allergenic Pollen of North America was the most important book I read (out of hundreds) when I was doing my original research for my own book. The material is extensive, accurate, scientific, and yet it is quite readable. Unlike so many other books, papers, or articles on pollen and allergy, this book takes into consideration all of the plants grown in North America, not just the trees. A classic, and yet, still the very best.

From the list:

The best books on allergy-friendly landscapes

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Book cover of European Approaches to North America, 1450-1640

European Approaches to North America, 1450-1640

By David B. Quinn

Why this book?

Professor Quinn wrote this book about 25 years ago, yet I learned a vast amount from it. It is certainly dryer than some accounts, but he could see beyond the immediate stories. In fact, it was this book that first suggested that the so-called ‘Enterprise of the Indies’ began as a joint venture between Cabot and the Columbus brothers that went wrong. I certainly subscribe to that view myself.

From the list:

The best books on the European re-discovery of America

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Book cover of The Crossbreed

The Crossbreed

By Allan W. Eckert

Why this book?

I first fell madly in love with the writing of Allan Eckert when I read The Crossbreed. I’m a cat person, so I was, of course, a sucker for a story about a wild kitten who was a cross between a housecat and a bobcat. Eckert’s descriptive writing enabled me to see North America through the cat’s eyes, and I still cry like a baby every time I think about the poignant ending—not because the story was so sad, but because it was so beautiful. If you have ever wondered what we lost in the destruction of the North…

From the list:

The best books about the destruction of North America

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Book cover of The Silent Sky: The Incredible Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon

The Silent Sky: The Incredible Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon

By Allan W. Eckert

Why this book?

Once I became obsessed with Allan Eckert’s delicious writing, I read everything he wrote, which is how I happened upon The Silent Sky – The Incredible Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. Oh my God!!! How did this happen? Why? Passenger pigeons were such an astonishing phenomenon—until we exterminated them. After reading this book, I went to the Cincinnati Zoo and wept before the stuffed corpse of Martha, the last of her kind, and I commissioned a lawn statue of her to serve as a memorial to the billions of her brethren who once filled the skies over my house.…

From the list:

The best books about the destruction of North America

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