Basic reading list

For a general introduction into environmental history the following titles are recommended:

  • Coates, Peter, 'Clio's New Greenhouse', History today, 46, 8 (1996) 15-22
  • Hughes, Donald J, An environmental history of the world New York: Routledge, 2001),'Introduction. History and ecology', pp. 1-11
  • Hughes, J. Donald, What is Environmental History? (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006)
  • Mcneill, J.R., Something new under the sun. An environmental history of the twentieth century (London: Penguin, 2000)
  • Simmons, I.G., An environmental history of Great Britian from 10,000 years ago to the present (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001)
  • Worster, Donald, The ends of the Earth. Essays in modern environmental history (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press,1988), 'Doing environmental history', pp. 289-308.

If you like to explore environmental history further use the literature list below as well as the comparative world environmental history reading list providing titles organised by continent or region. There are two environmental history journals: Environmental History and Environment and History. These journals a also a good departure point to find more literature.


Atkins, Peter, Ian Simmons and Brian Roberts, People, Land and Time. An Historical Introduction to the Relations between Landscape, Culture and Environment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Breeze, Lawrence E., The British experience with river pollution, 1865-1876, American university studies, Series 9. History. v.139 (New York: Peter Lang, 1993)

Brimblecombe, Peter & Pfister, Christian , The Silent Countdown: Essays in European Environmental History (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1993)

Chakrabarti, Ranjan(ed), Does Environmental History Matter: Shikar, Subsistence, Sustenance and the Sciences (Kolkata: Readers Service, 2006)

Cioc, Mark et al., 'Environmental History Writing in Northern Europe', Environmental History, 4 (2000) 396-406.

Cioc, Mark et al, 'Environmental History Writing in Southern Europe', Environmental History, 5 (2000) 545-556.

Cioc, Mark, The Rhine. An eco-biography, 1815-2000 (Seattle & London: University of Washington Press: 2002)

Coates, Peter, Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times (Cambridge & Berkeley: Polity Press / Univ. of Calif. Press, 1998)

Dam, Petra J. E. M. van, 'Sinking Peat Bogs: Environmental Change in Holland, 1350-1550', Environmental History, 6 (2001) 32-45.

Dickinson, William R., 'Changing Times: The Holocene Legacy', Environmental History, 5 (2000) 503-530.

Gottfried, Robert S., The Black Death: natural and human disaster in Medieval Europe (New York and London: Macmillan, 1983).

Hughes, Donald J., An environmental history of the world (New York: Routledge, 2001)

Hughes, Donald J., 'Global Environmental History: The Long View', Globalizations, 2 (2005) 3, 293-308.

Hughes, Donald J., What is Environmental History? (London: Polity Press, 2006).

Krech, Separd, J.R. McNeill & Carolyn Merchant, Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (London & New York: Routledge, 2004).

Lowenthal, David, 'Environmental History: From Genesis to Apocalypse', History Today, 51, 4 (2001) 36-44.

Mannion, A.M., Global Environmental Change: a Natural and Cultural Environmental History (Harlow: Longman Scientific & Technical, 1991).

Mannion, A.M., Dynamic World. Land-cover and Land-use Change (Arnold: London, 2002).

Mannion, A.M., Carbon and its Domestication ( Springer: Dordrecht, 2006).

Massard-Guilbaud, Genevieve, Bernhardt, Christophe (eds.), Le démon moderne. La pollution dans les sociétés urbaines et industrielles d'Europe / The modern Demon. Pollution in Urban and Industrial European Societies (Clermont-Ferrand: Presses de l'UBP, 2002)

McNeill, J.R, 'Observations on the Nature and Culture of Environmental History', History and Theory, 42 (December 2003), 5-43.

Merricks, Linda, 'Environmental history', Rural history, 7 (1996) 97-106.

Moran, Emilio F., People and Nature. An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations (Malden/Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006).

Perlin, John, A forest journey: the role of wood in the development of civilization (Cambridge, Massachusettes: Harvard University Press, 1989). New edition published in 2006, more details >>

Ponting, Clive, A green history of the world (London: Penguin, 1991)

Roberts, Neil, The Holocene: an environmental history (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998)

Sheail, John, An environmental history of twentieth-century Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001)

Simmons, I.G., Changing the face of the earth. Culture, environment and history (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996)

Simmons, I.G., Environmental History, a concise introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993)

Slack, Paul (ed.), Environments and Historical Change. The Linacre Lectures (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Stradling, David and Peter Thorsheim, 'The Smoke of Great Cities: British and American Efforts to Control Air Pollution, 1860-1914', Environmental History, 4 (1999) 6-31.

Thomas, Keith Vivien, Man and the Natural World, Changing Attitudes in England, 1500-1800, (London, Allen Lane, 1983).

Ven, G.P. van de (ed.), Man-made Lowlands. History of water management and land reclamation in the Netherlands (Utrecht: Matrijs, 2004)

Watkins, Charles & Kirby, Keith, The ecological history of European forests (New York; CAB International,1998)

Whited, Tamara L.(ed.) Northern Europe. An Environmental History, (ABC-Clio, 2005).

Williams, M., 'The relations of environmental history and historical geography', Journal of Historical Geography, 20 (1994) 3-21.

Worster, Donald, The ends of the Earth. Essays in modern environmental history (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press,1988)

Worster, Donald, The wealth of nature: environmental history and the ecological imagination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993)

Worster, Donald, Nature's economy : a history of ecological ideas (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994)

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