Earlier this year, in an Aliens-L list serve post, Randy Westbrooks recommended "Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900" as "a ‘must read’ for anyone who works on invasive species."
So I bought it. Now, I'm nearly finished reading it, and he's right. (But what else would I expect: invasion ecology isn't just science, it's sociology and culture and story, and if you've ever talked with Randy Westbrooks or heard him speak, you know that he "gets" story.)
It's helping me understand our current invasive issues + what was, and what's still left of, our natural heritage, in ecological, biogeographical, biopolitical, historical and social contexts.
With memorable examples and well-researched historical accounts I haven't come across anywhere before.
Personally, I especially appreciated any of the historic records of natural and ethnobotanical vegetation in eastern North America at the earliest points of first European contact.
First written in 1986, with a new edition in 2004, this book reminds me of the quote: "The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones." - Joseph Joubert
If you're interested in invasion ecology and natural heritage -- or if you liked Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel" or Ronald Wright's "Stolen Continents -- you'll appreciate this one.