Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen (May 22, 1927 – April 5, 2014) was an American novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer, and CIA agent. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review, he was the only writer to have won the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction. His works are known for their rich descriptions of the natural world and deep reflection on the human condition. Some of his notable books include 'The Snow Leopard', 'Shadow Country', and 'At Play in the Fields of the Lord'.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Snow Leopard

    "The Snow Leopard" is a travelogue that recounts the author's two-month journey in the Himalayas with naturalist George Schaller. The duo trek through the rugged and remote mountains of Nepal on a quest to study the rare blue sheep and possibly spot the elusive snow leopard. The book is as much a spiritual journey as it is a physical one, with the author seeking solace and understanding following the death of his wife. The narrative explores themes of grief, nature, and Buddhism, offering a poignant and introspective look at life and loss.

  2. 2. At Play in the Fields of the Lord

    This novel is a deep exploration of clashes between cultures, religions and personal desires, set in the South American jungle. The story focuses on two North American adventurers who are hired to bomb a remote missionary outpost, a zealous evangelical minister trying to convert a tribe of Amazonian Indians, and the Indians themselves, who are struggling to maintain their way of life. The narrative delves into the moral and spiritual dilemmas faced by each character, and the tragic consequences of misunderstanding and intolerance.

  3. 3. Shadow Country

    Shadow Country is a historical novel that explores the life of outlaw and entrepreneur Edgar J. Watson, a notorious figure in the late 19th and early 20th century American South. The narrative delves deep into Watson's complex character, his violent deeds, and the mystery surrounding his death, providing a panoramic view of the lawless frontier life in Florida's Everglades. The story is told from multiple perspectives, each revealing a different aspect of Watson's life and the era he lived in, making it a compelling study of human nature and the American frontier.

  4. 4. Far Tortuga

    This novel tells the story of a group of Caribbean turtle fishermen who set out on a dangerous journey to the remote island of Far Tortuga. The narrative unfolds through the use of dialect, sea charts, and poetry, creating a vivid and unique portrayal of the men's struggle for survival against the harsh realities of the sea. As the crew faces various challenges, their story explores themes of man's relationship with nature, the passage of time, and the inevitability of death.