Tag Archives: Books

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books on Trees and Forests

When we compiled our last Top 10 list on National Forest non-fiction books in honor of our new publication, we realized there were many great books on forests that did not fit that category.  So we created this list of the best books we have read about specific tree species and forests.  Some of the selections are history, some biology, some biography, and some ecology (or a mix of all four).  Click here to see all of our Top 10 lists, including quite a few other book lists. 

10. Beyond the Aspen Grove (1970) by Ann Zwinger

Quaking aspen trees are special, not just because they grow huge clonal stands or turn beautiful colors in the autumn

9. Oak: The Frame of Civilization (2005) by William Bryant Logan

From Eurasia to North America, the many species of oak trees have been essential to humankind

8. The Bristlecone Book: A Natural History of the World’s Oldest Trees (2007) by Ronald M. Lanner

An in-depth look at the oldest single-stem trees on the planet—Great Basin bristlecone pines

7. The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter (2005) by Colin Tudge

A great introduction to dendrology full of fun facts and figures

6. Tales from the Underground: A Natural History Of Subterranean Life  (2001) by David W. Wolfe

The visible parts of forests would never grow without the activity of trillions of microorganisms in the soil

5. American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation (2012) by Eric Rutkow

The history of forests in the U.S., including the huge impact of chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease

4. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate (2016) by Peter Wohlleben

Unable to move, trees use pheromones and other means for intraspecific and interspecific communication; the author also published Forest Walking in 2022

3. The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed (2005) by John Vaillant

Basically about a mutant Sitka spruce tree that was killed, this well-written story is hard to put down

2. The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring (2007) by Richard Preston

Mostly set in Redwood National Park, this book focuses on the people who research the tallest trees in the world

…and finally our #1 non-fiction book on trees and forests:

1. A Sand County Almanac (1949) by Aldo Leopold

The greatest ecologist of the twentieth century, Aldo Leopold worked in Gila National Forest as a young man where the events of the seminal essay “Thinking Like a Mountain” took place

Honorable Mentions

Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History (2010) by Diane Wells

A beautifully illustrated sampling of information on common trees from around the world

Tree: A Life Story (2004) by David Suzuki and Wayne Grady

The life cycle of a single tree, beautifully narrated and illustrated

What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses (2012) by Daniel Chamovitz

An excellent summation of decades of little-known research on plants of all sizes

The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (2012) by David George Haskell

A detailed look at the activity in a small patch of old-growth forest in Tennessee

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Top 10 Non-Fiction Books on National Forests

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books on National Forests

This Top 10 list is in honor of publishing our new guidebook and giving a presentation on recreating in National Forests on June 21, 2022 at our local library in our hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  We worked with the Laramie County Library to pull a cartful of our favorite books on National Forests to display on the 3rd floor outside the computer lab.  This is a partial list of the best we have read, most of which can be found at the library.  There are also countless hiking guides to specific National Forests, regions, and Wilderness areas that we did not include.  Click here to see all of our Top 10 lists, including quite a few other book lists

10. Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (2011) by Philip Connors

Connors shared his experiences working as a seasonal fire lookout atop a remote mountain in Gila National Forest

9. Travels in the Greater Yellowstone (2008) by Jack Turner

The incredibly beautiful Wind River Range in Bridger and Shoshone National Forests figures prominently in this book

8. The Forest Service and the Greatest Good: A Centennial History (2005) by James G. Lewis

Released for the centennial of the Forest Service’s founding in conjunction with a documentary film, this is the best volume on the agency’s history

7. The Blue Bear: A True Story of Friendship, Tragedy, and Survival in the Alaskan Wilderness (2002) by Lynn Schooler

The author traveled by boat throughout the Inside Passage and Tongass National Forest in search of an elusive subspecies of black bears with a famous wildlife photographer

6. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009) by Timothy Egan

An engaging history of the early Forest Service and the devastating 1910 fires that revolutionized the agency’s mission

5. Young Men and Fire (1992) by Norman MacLean

Helena National Forest’s Big Belt Mountains were the site of the of the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire, which killed 13 smokejumpers who were immortalized in this classic book

4. The Singing Wilderness (1956) by Sigurd F. Olson

Olson wrote many great books on his explorations of Superior National Forest’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

3. This Land: A Guide to Central National Forests (2022) by Robert H. Mohlenbrock

Now out of print, Robert H. Mohlenbrock’s three-book series was an invaluable resource when writing our own guidebook

2. Our National Forests: Stories from America’s Most Important Public Lands (2021) by Greg M. Peters

A modern look at the issues facing the Forest Service by a former Communications Director of the National Forest Foundation

…and finally our #1 non-fiction book on National Forests:

1. Out in the Woods: An Introductory Guide to America’s 155 National Forests (2022) by Scott, Tiff, and Mary Sink

We may be biased, but we think our new travel guide is the best resource available for recreating in the National Forests

Honorable Mentions

Flagstaff Hikes (2001) by Richard and Sherry Mangum

In college, Scott carried this book and its companion Sedona Hikes on thousands of miles of trails in Arizona’s Coconino National Forest

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail (2014) by Ben Montgomery

A fun biography of the woman who popularized thru-hiking the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (which crosses several National Forests)

On Trails: An Exploration (2016) by Robert Moor

A reflection on trails of all kinds by a man who thru-hiked the Appalachian National Scenic Trail

We published our new guidebook to National Forests!

Today we published our newest guidebook to the National Forests available for sale on Amazon

Out in the Woods: An Introductory Guide to America’s 155 National Forests introduces readers to the diversity of forests across all of America by providing a straightforward introduction to each National Forest, an easy hiking trail that is representative of that forest, and a tree species that can be found there. 

We are also giving a presentation on recreating in National Forests at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It will be in the Cottonwood Room (1st floor) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. We will have all of our books for sale before and after the talk and would be happy to sign them for you.

If you go to our book page on Amazon (https://amzn.to/3LSeey2) click on the cover image to Look Inside and read the introduction. Below is an example of the layout for all 155 National Forests.

Check out our Shop tab for all of books and products!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

We released our new National Parks coloring book!

Just in time for the holidays—we released our first coloring book available on Amazon.com! It is based on the 50 logos we created for our National Parks guidebook, many of which can be seen on our Shop page. It also includes the overview and wildlife information from the guidebook. It would make a great gift for any age!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Top 10 Civil War Non-Fiction Books

This past summer, we covered the many National Park Service (NPS) sites dedicated to remembering the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history with the greatest outcome (freedom for the country’s enslaved people).  We previously ranked our Top 10 novels and films about the war, but for the non-fiction list we widened the time frame to include antebellum and postbellum works (click here to see all our Top 10 lists).

10. Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf (2002)

The discovery of the wreck of the world’s first submarine is a fascinating story.

9. Andrew Johnson by Annette Gordon-Reed (2011)

After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson had impossible shoes to fill.

8. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861)

One of many heart-wrenching, first-hand accounts of slavery published by abolitionist groups before the Civil War.

7. West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson (2007)

An in-depth look at the history of the country after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House.

6. Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. DuBois (1935)

A seminal work on the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War.

5. Company Aytch by Samuel Watkins (1882)

An interesting autobiography from a soldier in the Confederate Army.

4. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845)

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became an impassioned voice for freedom before and after the war.

3. A Diary from Dixie by Mary Chestnut (1905)

A lengthy narrative of one woman’s experiences living in the south during the Civil War.

2. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington (1901)

Autobiography of Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute who was born into slavery.

…and finally our #1 non-fiction book about the American Civil War:

1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2005)

One of the best history books ever written, it tells the story of the competing egos within President Lincoln’s Cabinet.

Honorable Mentions

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy by Elizabeth R. Varon (2003)

There are so many excellent histories of this period, but this biography is especially interesting.

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton (2004)

Any biography of Harriet Tubman is worth reading.

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