Nature and Environmental Book Reviews

Short List of Best Nature and Environmental Books


Planet Earth: Earth from Space

The first photographs of Earth from space were taken on October 24, 1946 – shot at an altitude of 65 miles over the New Mexico desert from a V-2 rocket launched from the White Sands Missile Range . . . learn more about Planet Earth»

Recommended Books on Planet Earth: Earth from Space

Earth from AboveEarth from Above
Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Ecology aims to give its practitioners an approach to understanding how whole natural systems - for example, watersheds, deserts, and estuaries - work. This remarkable collection of photographs affords its viewers a window into the world's workings, documenting the large-scale impact of human activities upon the earth. We see aerial views of large-scale logging, fans of algae spreading into the Mediterranean Sea, farmers working their fields in Northern India, destroyed Iraqi tanks littering the deserts of Kuwait. A bracing and beautiful book. 2005, Harry N. Abrams

Earth from Above: 365 DaysEarth from Above: 365 Days
Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Famed aerial photographer Arthus-Bertrand has joined forces with a dozen conservationists to create a pictorial accounting of the impact of humankind on the planet. With brief essays on sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, water, and global economics, the striking patterned and colorful aerial compositions reveal the unity of life on earth in all its glorious symmetry and complexity. 2007, Harry N. Abrams

Earth from SpaceEarth from Space: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Andrew K. Johnston

The revolution in satellite reconnaisance reveals stunning perspectives of the earth in remarkably sharp detail. The photographs in this volume emphasize how humans have altered the earth's surface and atmosphere while revealing the beauty of river deltas, typhoons, erupting volcanoes, and even Vermont's fall colors. 2004, Firefly Books

Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth
Short List

Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth
Robert Poole

In Earthrise historian Poole reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the first photographs taken of Earth from space, and how those amazing images forever changed our view of the Earth. Snapped on the fly during the tightly scheduled 1968 Apollo 8 mission, the iconic photo dubbed "Earthrise"--the image of a cloudy blue Earth rising over a starkly monochromatic lunar surface--stunned everyone. Astronaut Frank Borman called it "the most beautiful, heart-catching sight of my life." Paradoxically, rather than turning people's eyes on a future in space, the photo refocused them on Earth, and was a powerful stimulus to the environmental movement. 2010, Yale University Press

Bernhard Edmaier

Art meets Earth science in Earthsong, a gallery of spectacular aerial photographs. Reproduced in full color, the patterns of deserts, glaciers, volcanoes and grassland often resemble abstract painting. Quietly acknowledging the effects of global warming, this book hovers above the Earth to reveal the effects of the interconnected forces that continue to shape our planet. 2004, Phaidon Press

Fragile EarthFragile Earth: Views of a Changing World
Collins UK Staff

Natural disasters, climate change, resource exploitation, and human development are all changing our planet at a relentless pace: hurricanes and tornados in the Midwest, flooding along the coasts, melting of polar ice caps. Written by leading experts, and using unique before-and-after satellite imagery to document what's taking place, Fragile Earth presents all of the changes that are occurring - natural phenomena, like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, landslides, and avalanches; wild weather, like tropical storms, tornadoes, and massive dust storms; as well as desertification, drought, shrinking lakes and drying rivers - and what the likely outcomes for our planet will be. 2006, Collins

Mountains from SpaceMountains from Space: Peaks and Ranges of the Seven Continents
Stefan Dech, Rudiger Glasser, Reinhold Messner and Ralf-Peter Märtin

Using highly specialized, advanced digital satellite imaging - first made possible in 2000 by the Shuttle Radar Topogaphy Mission - this book presents an astounding collection of images of the Earth's mountain ranges. The most majestic peaks on all seven continents are visible as they never would be to the naked eye - in views taken from 500 to 15 miles above the earth that reveal the entire mountain range at once, unobstructed by clouds, haze, and the refraction of light. 2005, Harry N. Abrams

Short List

Orbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth
Jay Apt, Michael Helfert and Justin Wilkinson

This awe-inspiring collection of photograhs gives those of us stuck on Earth a glimpse of what our home planet looks like from the window of a spacecraft. All the continents are shown, as well as weather events, the aurora borealis, and the visible effects of anthropogenic environmental change - deforestation and desertification chief among them. Take a sobering look at our lovely planet and realize how small and fragile it really is. 2003, National Geographic

Over the MountainsOver the Mountains: An Aerial View of Geology
Michael Collier

The full-color photos in this volume are uniformly stunning and illustrate how mountains form, evolve, deteriorate and die. Author Collier covers the fundamentals of mountain geology: rock types, plate tectonics, erosion, fault zones, alluvial fans, subduction and volcanoes, employing his photographs to illustrate these principles. 2007, Mikaya Press

Patterns of the EarthPatterns of the Earth
Bernhard Edmaier and Angelika Jung-Huttl

This photographic collection features dazzling pictures of natural phenomena such as volcanoes, glaciers, coral reefs, dunes, rivers, craters, canyons and salt flats, revealing the beauty of the dwindling unspoiled areas of our planet. Edmaier's photographs are taken from as high as 20,000 feet, exposing natural patterns and documenting the geological processes at work. 2007, Phaidon Press

Through the Eyes of the CondorThrough the Eyes of the Condor: an Aerial Vision of Latin America
Robert B. Haas

This is a breath-taking tour of the immense and varied wilderness of Latin America. In magnificent and exquisite composition, award-winning aerial photographer Robert B. Haas captures the majesty of the Amazon, the fickleness of rare wildlife in Patagonia, and the incredible topography of untouched lands. 2007, National Geographic

Through the Eyes of the GodsThrough the Eyes of the Gods: An Aerial Vision of Africa
Robert B. Haas

Bobby Haas' remarkable and compelling aerial photographs capture the landscape and wildlife of Africa as never seen before. Covering the continent the book pictures the wild animals and ecosystems from the savannahs to the Serengeti. This wonderful volume is filled with breath-taking photography that shows the vastness and complexity of this beautiful continent. 2005, National Geographic

The World: Flying HighThe World: Flying High
Enrico Lavagno

Hundreds of photos taken from around the Earth show its most beautiful landscapes and built environments from an aerial perspective in striking color and detail. Breathtaking images include the deep canyons of North America, the dense forests of South America, the dizzying peaks of the Himalayas and the Alps, the lunar colors of the great deserts, as well as the pyramids, the great wall of China, prehistoric villages, medieval towns of Europe, and the huge metropolises of the 3rd millenium. 2005, White Star

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