A Level Reading

A Level Geography- Extra Reading

To get a top grade in A-Level geography, students need to read more than just the course textbook; this page lists some of my favourite extra reading. I have included a link to Amazon for each title; I have also included a link to an article my blog if I have written an article about the specific book. I have attempted to group them by category

General Books about the Discipline

Geography – Danny Dorling & Carl Lee

This book provides a contemporary introduction to some of geography’s big ideas. It helps the reader think like a geographer and introduces indirectly the concept of synoptic links. The book has broad chapters on tradition, globalisation, equality, sustainability and mapping the future.

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Dorling, D. and C. Lee (2016). Geography. London, Profile Books.

On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does – Simon Garfield

This book is a bit of a geeky read but is all about maps. The author explores the history behind different maps ranging from some of the first maps to the modern maps of Sat Navs and the internet.

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Garfield, S. (2013). On the Map: Why the world looks the way it does. London, Profile Books.


Divided: Why we are living in an age of Walls – Tim Marshall 

This book provides a useful geopolitics primer and gives information about different global borders and the causes. The book discusses both virtual and physical borders. It is both accessible and up to date.

Blog Post with my notes     View on Amazon

Marshall, T. (2018). Divided: Why we’re live in an age of walls. London, Elliot and Thompson.

Prisoners of Geography – Tim Marshall

This earlier book by Tim Marshall provides an explanation of how geography has influenced politics. This is done through 10 different maps that explain how the physcial geography of the world has influenced the human geography.

Blog Post with my notes .       View on Amazon

Marshall, T. (2015). Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell you Everything you need to know about Global Politics. London, Elliot and Thompson.

Who Rules the World? – Noam Chomsky

This book provides ‘a rigorous examination of the dark currents underlying the some of the major issues of times. [The author] offers a terrifying picture of the inner and outer workings of modern-day imperial power.’ (back of the book)

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Chomsky, N. (2016). Who rules the World? UK, Penguin.

Stumbling Giant: Threats to China’s Future – Timothy Beardson

This book provides a detailed account of China’s economy and potential threats to China’s economy. This provides some good information and is linked to economics and globalisation. This would be of particular interest for students who study both geography and economics.

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Beardson, T. (2013). Stumbling Giants – The Threats to China’s Future. New Haven, Yale University Press.


Population 10 Billion – Danny Dorling

This book charts the history of the global population to its peak at 10 billion. Dorling explains the key issues that we are facing and how humans have the capacity to solve the problem. He also talks about when the populaiton may start decreasing; and the problems that may bring.

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Dorling, D. (2013). Population 10 Billion: The Coming Demographic Crisis and How to Survive it. London, Constable.

What to Expect When No One’s Expecting – Jonathan Last

This book looks at the demography of theUnited States. The author looks at the ageing population time bomb that is facing the United States and the impact that this population will have as well as potential solutions.

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Last, J. V. (2013). What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster. New York, Encounter Books.


Place Studies and Inequality (Social Processes)

The Equality Effect – Danny Dorling

Danny Dorling provides information about the global state of inequality and gives research on the correlation between equality and environmental progress.

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Dorling, D. (2017). The Equality Effect: Improving Life for Everyone. Oxford, New Internationalist.

The Spirit Level and The Inner Level – Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

I have listed these books together as the Inner Level is a continuation of the Spirit level published in 2010. This book looks at the impact of unequal societies across the world. The inner level provides an update and also looks at the more personal effects of inequality.

View the Spirit Level on Amazon View the Inner Level on Amazon

Wilkinson, R. and K. Pickett (2010). The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. London, Penguin.

Wilkinson, R. and K. Pickett (2018). The Inner Level: How more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everyone’s well-being. London, Allen Lane.

In America: Tales from Trump Country – Caitriona Perry

Although not directly linked to the geography syllabus; there is a link to study about place. This a clear read that provides some information about the current situation in US politics and would definitely be worth a read for students who study both geography and politics.

Blog Post with my notes         View on Amazon

Perry, C. (2017). In America: Tales from Trump Country. Dublin, Gill Books.

The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks

This book is an autobiography of the author and helps provide an insight into life in rural England, specifically the lake district. It provides a powerful account of how individual lives are linked to specific places.

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Rebanks, J. (2015). The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District. UK, Allen Lane.

World City – Doreen Massey

This book is slighly older than most of the others on the list but is a key human geography text. It introduces the concept of the world city and through the lens of London asks the quesiton – what are cities for?

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Massey, D. (2007). World City. Cambridge, Polity.

Deep South – Paul Theroux

This author travels through the Deep South of the United States, although not directly applicable to the A Level course it provides some good descriptions of place. This would also help students think about the benefits of qualitative fieldwork.

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Theroux, P. (2015). Deep South. London, Hamish Hamilton.

Notes from the Temporary City – Hackney Wick and Fish Island, 2014-2015

This is an account of the changes that are taking place in Hackney Wick and provides information about some of the arguments behind the changes. There are also a range of thought provoking pictures and images of the area.

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Ferreri, M. and A. Lang (2016). Notes from the Temporary City – Hackney Wick and Fish Island, 2014-2015. London, public works publishing.


Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis: A Complete Introduction – David Rothery

This book is part of the ‘Teach Yourself’ series. It provides clear explanation of the theory behind tectonic hazards supplemented by clear diagrams and examples.

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Rothery, D. A. (2015). Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis: A Complete Introduction. London, Hodder and Stoughton.

The Volcano: Monserrat and Me – Lally Brown

This book provides a first-hand account of the Montserrat volcanic eruption as it unfolds. It is written by Lally Brown an ex-pat who is posted to the Island. It provides a useful description of the nature of the hazard and is another title which helps build synoptic links.

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Brown, L. (2017) The Volcano: Monserrat and Me. Independently Published.

Ghosts of the Tsunami – Richard Lloyd Parry

This book consists of a number of personal accounts of the impact of the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. It provides detailed descriptions of the quake but importantly helps students develop synoptic links by looking at how the Tsunami impacted people’s perception of place.

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Parry, R. L. (2017). Ghosts of the Tsunami. London, Jonathan Cape.

This book has been out a few years now but is a great start for students to think about how physical and human geography blend. This is about geopolitics but makes explicit statements about how the human geography of the country is impacted by its physical geography.

Climate Change, Carbon and Water Cycle

Adventures in the Anthropocene – Gaia Vince

This novel talks about the new human-induced Epoch, the Anthropocene. The author travels the world and looks at the human impact of Climate Change and looks at specific examples of problems and solutions with local communities.

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Vince, G. (2014). Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet we Made. London, Vintage.

Suggest a Book

If you have a recommendation for a book to be added to this list please let me know; either email me or fill out the form below.

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