51 Essential Books in Geography

On and off throughout 2011, I compiled a Top 50 list of books that geographers, especially graduate students, should read before entering professional geography. I put most of this list together myself, so it is skewed toward human, cultural, and critical geography, but I tried to balance it out by asking some of my fellow geographers at UT for input. Here is the final list of what we came up with. If you have additional suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section! Keeping the list at 50 51 is just an arbitrary choice, so feel free to add more.

Updated 10 January 2013: Added Dwyer and Alderman 2008

Book Title Author (Last) Author (First)
State of Exception Agamben Giorgio
Human Geography: An Essential Anthology Agnew John
Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects Agrawal Arun
The Age of Migration Castles and Millar
The Point is to Change It: Geographies of Hope and Survival in an Age of Crisis Castree Noel
The Crisis Churchill Winston
Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West Cronon William
Guns, Germs, and Steel Diamond Jared
Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory Dwyer, Owen & Alderman, Derek
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850 Fagan Brian
Shadowed Ground Foote Kenneth
Discipline and Punish Foucault Michel
The Archaeology of Knowledge and The Discourse on Language Foucault Michel
Hot, Flat, and Crowded Friedman Thomas
Constitution of Society Giddens Anthony
Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California Gilmore Ruth
The Prison Notebooks Gramsci Antonio
The Dictionary of Human Geography Gregory et al
Limits to Capital Harvey David
A Brief History of Neoliberalism Harvey David
Social Justice and the City Harvey David
Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography Hay Iain
The Death and Life of Great American Cities Jacobs Jane
On Becoming a Professional Geographer Kenzer Martin
On the Road Kerouac Jack
Thinking Geographically Kitchin Rob
Into the Wild Krakauer Jon
Times of Feast, Times of Famine Ladurie Emmanuel
Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis Lang Robert
The Production of Space Lefebvre Henri
Custodians of Place Lewis Paul
Call of the Wild London Jack
The Past is a Foreign Country Lowenthal David
The Prince Machiavelli Niccolo
Capital Vol. 1 Marx Karl
The Communist Manifesto Marx & Engels
Space, Place, and Gender Massey Doreen
For Space Massey Doreen
The Lie of the Land Mitchell Don
The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space Mitchell Don
Dance of the Dialectic Ollman Bertell
All Quiet on the Western Front Remarque Erich Maria
Geographies of Exclusion Sibley David
The Wealth of Nations Smith Adam
The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck John
The Dictionary of Physical Geography Thomas and Goudie
Space and Place Tuan Yi-Fu
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Weber Max
The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Whyte William
The Mapmakers Wilford John Noble
The Post American World Zakaria Fareed

A PDF of this list is available here, for those interested in downloading it. (Thanks to Peggy Jackson for the suggestion.)

2 thoughts on “51 Essential Books in Geography”

  1. Noticed that you have ‘The Mapmakers’ on your list. Did you know that the author is a cousin of Karen? I have an autographed copy sitting on my bookshelf!


  2. Pretty cool! I did not know that, and apparently neither did she. I haven’t read that one, but it was recommended by a fellow grad student to help fill out the list.


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