Nature and Environmental Book Reviews

Short List of Best Nature and Environmental Books



Nature Writing Anthologies: Start Here

by David Yarian, Ph.D.

Anthologies may be the best way to get an introduction to nature writing – you’re benefitting from the editors’ selection of material they judge to be the finest writing on the particular theme represented by the anthology or collection you’re reading.

And there’s a world of great ones to choose from!  Library of America is releasing, on Earth Day 2008, its new collection, American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, edited by veteran nature writer Bill McKibben. This collection includes early conservationists, exponents of wilderness areas, ecological visionaries, and contemporary activist/writers.

A companion volume from Library of America is American Sea Writing: A Literary Anthology, collecting writing by Americans on the sea, from Melville to Rachel Carson, Longfellow, John McPhee and Peter Matthiessen.

The granddaddy of all anthologies of nature writing is Nature Writing: The Tradition in English, kept up-to-date through periodic revisions. It includes standards such as Thoreau, Muir, Dillard and Lopez as well as many lesser-known but outstanding nature writers.

Other fine overall collections are:

Anthologies with interesting themes are:

The great diversity in American nature writing is reflected in the diversity of these wonderful anthologies. It’s a good place to start.