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Best Book List

National Geographic Adventure

100 Best Adventure Books









Best Book Lists



















National Geographic Adventure, in their July-August, 2001, issue unveiled an exceptionally well conceived list of "adventure" books.  The process they followed in compiling the list was conducted in three-parts.  First they solicited ideas from their editorial staff, readers and contributors.  Then the list was given to a panel of ten writers, reviewers and experts who ranked the books and made additional suggestions.  Lastly, the books were placed in a final ordered list representing a combination of the rankings of the panel participants, Adventure editors and Adventure's supervising editor.

Although there is some overlap into nature and travel writing genres, the list otherwise concentrates on adventure.  They left out man-versus-man adventure literature, such as books about war.  Many of the works on the list are about human-powered experiences, but they also included a number of remarkable motorized journeys.  You'll also notice that the NGA list wisely gives preference towards writings by the adventurers themselves rather than authors who later re-told the story.

Below you'll find the list in order of final ranking.  The brief review information is in my words, but National Geographic Adventure also prepared short reviews of each of the books which may be found in the July-August, 2001 issue.



1. The Worst Journey in the World.  By Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)


Cherry-Garrard's "worst" journey takes place during the Antarctic winter before Robert Falcon Scott's famous race against Roald Amundsen to the South Pole. A member of Scott's expedition, Cherry-Garrard and two others undertake an expedition to collect the eggs of the emperor penguin.  On the way there and back, they struggle with back-breaking loads, long-dark days and numbingly cold temperatures.  It's an incredible story, narrated with great finesse.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



2. Journals.  By Meriwether Lews and  William Clark (1841)


The story of Lewis and Clark's remarkable journey across the American west told by the great explorers themselves.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



3. Wind, Sand & Stars.  By Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1940)


With beautiful prose, Antoine de Saint-Exupery describes his adventureous flights over the Pyrenees, Andes and Sahara.  Probably the best book ever written about flying. Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



4. Exploration of the Colorado River.  By John Wesley Powell (1875)


John Wesley Powell's journal of his trip into the "great unknown" of the Green and Colorado Rivers.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase




5. Anapurna. By Maurice Herzog. (1952)


In 1950, Herzog leads a group of French climbers to make an attempt on one of the world's most dangerous mountains.  Two make it to the top, but on the descent everything goes wrong.  Among mountaineering literature, Anapurna has few equals.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



6. Arabian Sands. By Wilfred Thesiger (1959)


In the late 1940's the Empty Quarter of the Saudi Arabian desert remained a mystery to much of the outside world.  Into that mystery, Thesiger went.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



7. Desert Solitare. By Edward Abbey (1968)


Edward Abbey is the undisputed the voice of the remote canyonland country of southern Utah and Northern Arizona.  No book describes this harsh landscape better and with more hard-nose poignancy than Desert SolitareAmazon.com: More Information or Purchase



8. West With the Night.  By Beryl Markham (1942)


There must be some kind of connection between flying and poetic writing.  Like Antoine de Saint-Exupery (see # 3 above), Markham is a pilot, and her writing is entrancing--as entrancing as the African landscape she soars above.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



9. Into Thin Air.  By John Kraukauer (1997)


It was John Kraukauer's book in 1997 which suddenly made New York publishers sit up and take notice.  Indeed, a book on outdoor adventure could make money and lots of it.  Into Thin Air describes the diaster that unfolded on Mt. Everest in 1996 when several parties were caught in a vicious storm.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



10. Travels.  By Marco Polo (1298)


The oldest book on the list, Travels is about Marco Polo's journey to Asia.  Adventure singles this book out as a starting point of adventure literature--non-fiction that is--of the modern world.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



11. Farthest North.  By Fridtjof Nansen (1987)


Fridtjof Nansen is the great Norweign explorer who inspired a generation of explorers and set the stage for fellow countryman Roald Amundsen who went on to lead the first successful expedition to the South Pole (see #63, below).  Nansen made his mark in the northern climes.  He sailed his specially built wooden ship to the north, allowed it to freeze in Arctic waters, and then with dog sleds made an attempt on the North Pole.  He didn't make it, but what an adventure it was.   Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



12. The Snow Leopard.  By Peter Matthiessen (1978) 


Matthiessen accompanies biologist George Schaller on a 250-mile trek through the Himalayan mountains.  Schaller's purpose is to study blue sheep. Along the way, Matthiessen hopes to catch a glimpse of the exceedingly rare snow leopard but the journey becomes much more.  Coming shortly after the death of his wife, it becomes a contemplative and enlightening look at life. 


See More Extensive Review.   Amazon.com: More Information



13. Roughing It.  By Mark Twain  (1872)


Roughing It is a loose rendering of the events in Twain's life beginning in July of 1861 when he departed for Carson City, Nevada with his brother Orion, who was recently appointed Secretary of the Territory of Nevada, and ending in early 1867 when he arrived in New York.  In a style which would later become the great writer's hallmark, Roughing It is a rollicking, no-holds barred travel account of what it was like in the early days of the west.


See More Extensive Review.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



14. Two Years Before the Mast.  By Richard Henry Dana (1840)


Born of privilege and money, Dana leaves all it behind, taking up the life of sailor and writing an engrossing chronicle of the sea and his experiences.  Amazon.com: More Information



15. South.  By Ernest Shackleton (1919) 


Here it is in Shackleton's own words: the powerful and unforgettable story of his escape when his ship, the Endurance, is crushed in the pack ice of Anactartic.  Though a bit matter-of-fact compared to modern-day re-tellings, South, nonetheless draws you in and won't let go.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



16. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.  By Eric Newby (1958)


Jeff Tucker's review:  "A great story by a great travel writer about a preposterously planned trip into Afghanistan (before the modern era of chaos overtook the country) to do a first ascent on a previously unseen peak in the Hindu Kush Mountains. The two solitary adventurers, with as much climbing experience as they had knowledge of the terrain, set out into the wilds of the Afghani frontier, and a formidable array of trouble and adventures. Written with sublimely understated humor and dry wit, it is hilariously funny and fun."   Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



17. Kon-Tiki.  By Thor Heyerdahl (1950)


It must be in the genes.  Norwegians often figure prominently in adventure literature and Thor Heyerdahl is no exception.  Heyerdahl theorized that inhabitants of South American settled the Polynesian Islands--and to prove his theory he built a raft out of balsa wood and launched from Peru.  Three months, and 4,300 miles later, he reached his goal.  Kon-Tiki is a great adventure and a fascinating read.   Amazon.com: More Information



18. Travels in West Africa.  By Mary Kingsley (1897) 


Mary Kingsley is a remarkable woman who set off from England unescorted to continue her father's studies of the customs of African natives.  Not having wealth or a trust to draw from, she had to earn her way by conducting her own trading business.  Although she writes in the typical British style of her times not letting on to inner doubts and anxiety, the danger she faces is palpable as she travels the rivers and dark forests of Africa.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase



19. The Spirit of St. Louis.  By Charles Lindbergh (1953)


An American icon, Lindergh was the first to fly non-stop from New York to Paris.  This is his story, from his humble beginnings on a Minnesota farm to his famous transatlantic flight: the joys, disappointments and close-calls.  All in all, a life well-lived. Amazon.com: More Information



20. Seven Years in Tibet.  By Heinrich Harrer (1953)


Harrer escapes from a prisoner-of-war camp in the Himalayan foothills, makes his way across Tibet to Lhasa, and eventually meets and befriends the young Dalai Lama.


See More Extensive Review.  Amazon.com: More Information



21. Journals.  By James Cook (1768-1779)


Reaching all seven continents, the British explorer, Captain James Cook  expanded western knowledge of the globe like no other.  Between 1769 and 1779, he made three epic journeys on two different sailing ships, conducting scientific experiments and charting the uncharted.  An unabridged version of his journal is available, but the edited version is a good way to get started. Amazon.com: More Information.



22. Home of the Blizzard.  By Douglas Mawson (1915)


My good friend, Allan Priddy, who has spent a good amount of time on Anarctica first suggested this book to me and everything he said about it was true.  Indeed, it's about one of the most astonishing feats of human endurance ever recorded. While on a sledging journey several hundred miles from his base camp, one of Mawson's fellow explorers fell and was lost in a crevasse. Along with him went most of their supplies. About a month later, Mawson's remaining companion died.  He trekked on alone, surviving storms and hunger, only to reach base camp hours after the expedition's supply ship had left.  Amazon.com: More Information.



23. The Voyage of the Beagle.  By Charles Darwin (1839)


The five-year journey of the HMS Beagle, from England to Brazil to the Galapagos to Tahiti to New Zealand, from one side of the ocean to the other: the geological and biological discoveries and the seeds of Darwin's famous theory that to this day still sparks controversy.  Amazon.com: More Information.



24. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  By T.E. Lawrence (1926) 


During World War I, Lawrence (more popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia from the title of 1966 David Lean movie) lives and works with the Arabs to foment rebellion against their Turkish rulers.   Amazon.com: More Information.



25. Travels to the Interior Districts of Africa.  By Mungo Park (1799)


In 1795, Mungo Park, a Scottish doctor, undertakes an expedition to explore the course of the River Niger and visit the fabled city of Timbuctoo.  Amazon.com: More Information.



26. The Right Stuff.  By Tom Wolfe (1979)


Tom Wolfe chronicles America's space program through its colorful personalities: Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Guss Grissom, and the other Mercury astronauts and their families.  Amazon.com: More Information.



27. Sailing Alone Around the World.  By Joshua Slocum (1900)


In 1895, Joshua Slocum set sail from Boston.  Three years later, he returned, making the first solo circumnavigation of the globe.  Amazon.com: More Information.



28. The Mountain of My Fear and Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative  By David Roberts  (1968,1970)  


Roberts, who has done much to invigorate mountaineering writing, describes two expeditions to the Alaska Range: one to Mt. Deborah and the other to Mt. Huntington.  Roberts originally published the narratives in two separate books, but the Mountaineers has conveniently packaged both in one special edition.  Amazon.com: More Information



29. First Footsteps in East Africa. By Richard Burton (1856)


Travelling disguised as an Arab merchant, Burton explores the forbidden Moslem city of Harar.  Amazon.com: More Information.



30. The Perfect Storm.  By Sebastian Junger (1997)


In 1991, in a rare merging of three separate weather systems, a storm of unimaginable intensity hits the the northeastern seaboard. Junger's story centers on a fishing boat with six on board caught in the fury of the storm.     Amazon.com: More Information.



31. The Oregon Trail.  By Francis Parkman (1849)


"A Western classic, by a man who was to become one of America's foremost historians and scholars. Between the days of the Mountain Men and before the Civil War, prior to the great streams of immigrants who filled the western wilderness..."


More Extensive Review by Jeff TuckerAmazon.com: More Information.



32. Through the Dark Continent.  By Henry M. Stanley (1878) 


Stanley is most famous for the four words: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"  That was his well-mannered greeting when he finally located Livingstone, a missionary, doctor, and explorer who had been missing for years in unknown regions of Africa.  The two volumes of Through the Dark Continent describes Stanley's intrepid explorations of central Africa and his dangerous journey down the unexplored Congo River.  Barnes & Noble.com:  Volume I  &  Volume II.



33. A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains.  By Isabella Bird (1879)


A Lady’s Life is a rare, gem of a book which uses a series of letters to describe an Englishwomen’s 1873 journey in the Colorado Rockies. 


See More Extensive ReviewAmazon.com: More Information.



34. In the Land of White Death.   By Valerian Albanov (1817)  


In 1914, Valerian Albanov and his Russian companions are on a sailing ship searching for new lucrative hunting grounds to the north when they are caught in Arctic pack ice.  After well over a year, and the ship still frozen in the ice, thirteen of the men, pulling sleds and kayaks, and led by Albanov, began an arduous 235-mile survival march in an attempt to find land and help.   Amazon.com: More Information.



35. Endurance.  By F. A. Worsley (1931)


In 1914 Ernest Shackleton set off on a journey to traverse the Antarctic continent via the South Pole.  Frank (F. A.) Worsley was the captain of the Shackleton's ship.  The ship, named Endurance, never made it to the coast, becoming frozen in the pack ice.  Things went from bad to worse.  The following year, Worsley watched his ship crushed and destroyed by the mammoth forces created by shifting floes of ice.  Their escape climaxed by an 800-mile journey in a small, open boat to St. Georgia Island. Their route: across one of the most dangerous and capricious stretches of cold, open ocean anyway on the globe.  Navigation was vitally important.  One tiny error and they would miss St. Georgia and end up lost in the vastness of the southern Ocean.  Frank Worsley was the navigator--and this is Worsley's engrossing narrative of that epic journey.  Amazon.com: More Information.



36. Scrambles Amongst the Alps.  By Edward Whymper (1871)


Scrambles Amongst the Alps is one of the best representations of writing from the golden age of mountaineering in the mid and late 1800’s.


See More Extensive Review.  Amazon.com: More Information.



37. Out of Africa.  By Isak Dinesen (1937) 


Isak Dinesen is the pseudonym for Karen Blixen, a Danish aristocrat and celebrated writer who wrote Seven Gothic Tales.  Out of Africa (upon which the Sydney Pollack film is based) is about her experiences--and love life--as a pioneer coffee farmer in Kenya from 1914 to 1931.  Amazon.com: More Information.



38. Scott's Last Expedition: The Journals.  By Robert Falcon Scott (1913)


One of the great dramas of exploration took place in 1911 and 1912, when a British team under the leadership of Robert Falcon Scott and a Norwegian team under the leadership of  Roald Amundsen were engaged in a race to reach the South Pole.  Scott and his party perished on the return journey. This is his journal.  See More Extensive Review.  Amazon.com: More Informatio0n.



39. Everest:  The West Ridge.  By Thomas Hornbein (1965)


In 1963, as a team of climbers are putting the first Americans on the summit of Everest, Hornbein and Willie Unsoeld undertake a bold new route via the West Ridge.  It's an audicious route, way ahead of its time.  They make it, but on the way down, and out of supplemental oxygen, they are forced bivoac at 28,000 feet, an altitude known to mountaineers as the death zone.  Amazon.com: More Information.



40. Journey Without Maps.  By Graham Greene (1936) 


Author Greene's trek trip to and about Liberia in west Africa, a country created for released slaves.   Amazon.com: More Information.



41. Starlight and Storm.  By Gaston Rebuffat (1954)


Gaston Rubuffat isn't as well known these days, but at one time, he was a household word in the outdoor community.  A number of years ago when I worked for the Outdoor Program at Idaho State, we used to receive catalogs addressed to Gaston Piton.  It was spoof, of course, a take-off on Rebuffat's name.  One of our student workers apparently had sent multiple catalog requests using the alias -- and had been quite effective.  Six or seven years after the fact, we were still receiving catalogs for Gaston Piton.  But had he known, Rubuffat would have thoroughly enjoyed lending his name to the effort.  When you read his writings, almost lyrical in nature, he comes off as someone filled with a joy for living -- and climbing, of course.  In the post World War II period, Rubuffat was one of the giants, putting up numerous classic ascents in the Alps and participating in the first ascent of Annapurna in the Himalaya.  This is the story of those days.   Amazon.com: More Information.



42. My First Summer in the Sierra.  By John Muir (1911)


What can be said about John Muir?  America is certainly better off because of him.  At a time when few cared, he worked tirelessly for the preservation of wilderness.  It was his writings about Yosemite which ultimately convinced a nation and congress that the area should be protected.  In My First Summer, which takes place in 1869, Muir is working for a sheep herder and we follow along as he discovers the wonders of what he would later call The Range of Light.  Amazon.com: More Information.



43. My Life as an Explorer.  By Sven Hedin (1925)


Jeff Tucker's Review: "A summary of Hedin's fantastic career as an explorer, in the middle east, in Central Asia, and in Tibet. Written for a more casual 'armchair audience' than his scholarly accounts were, this book will keep you reading as adventure after adventure is colorfully described, in the near-disastrous first crossings of the Takla Makan Desert, penetration of high passes in the Pamir or Himalaya or Kunlun Mountains, and encounters with bandits or bouts with starvation. Beautifully described scenes of discoveries and incidents abound."  Amazon.com: More Information.



44. In Trouble Again.  By Redmond O'Hanlon (1988)


O'Hanlon is a British natural history writer and contributor to the Times-triad: The Times, New York Times, and the Los Angeles TimesTrouble is his humorous account of a four-month journey that he took to the Venezuelan jungle.  Amazon.com: More Information.



45. The Man Who Walked Through Time.  By Colin Fletcher (1968)


Fletcher’s journey from one end of the Grand Canyon to the other.  There’s no death defying climbing or canyoneering found in this book.  He tells no edge-of-the-seat tales of becoming lost or struggling without water.  Yet, Fletcher makes the trek interesting by taking us along, inviting us to be a participant and sharing with us what he is experiencing. See More Extensive Review.   Amazon.com: More Information.



46. K2--The Savage Mountain.  By Charles Houston and Robert Bates (1954)


A powerfully told story of the 1953 American Expedition to K2 and their desperate escape.   Amazon.com: More Information.



47. Gipsy Moth Circles the World.  By Francis Chichester (1967)


Francis Chichester's 226-day solo circumnavigation of the globe, told with understated humor.  Amazon.com: More Information.



48. Man-Eaters of Kumaon.  By Jim Corbett (1944)


Ten stories of tracking and shooting -- yep, you guessed it -- man-eating tigers in the Indian Himayalas in the early 1900s.  Amazon.com: More Information.



49. Alone.  By Richard Byrd (1938)


Alone is the story of Richard Bryd's six months of isolation in a remote weather station in Antarctica in 1933.   The lack of companionship, coupled with the long, black days of the interminable polar winter, extract a mental and physical toll from Byrd.  Yet there is something else, some other sinister element at the root of the explorer's deteriorating condition.  Almost before it is too late, Byrd discovers that he has been slowly poisoned by a carbon monoxide leak from a defective stove installation.  Reissued by Island Press, this classic story of Arctic adventure is now available to a new generation of readers.  Amazon.com: More Information.



50. Stranger in the Forest.  By Eric Hansen (1988)


An engrossing chronicle of Eric Hansen's journeys, mostly on foot, covering 2,400 miles through the wild jungles of Borneo.    Amazon.com: More Information.



51. Travels in Arabia Deserta.  By Charles M. Doughty (1888)


Arabia in 1870s: Doughty's wanderings among the Bedouin nomads and his attempt to reach Mecca.  Amazon.com: More Information.



52. The Royal Road to Romance.  By Richard Halliburton (1925)


The tales of free-spirited adventurer and traveler Richard Halliburton:  sleeping atop an Egyptian pyramid, climbing the Matterhorm, being jailed in Gibraltar (for taking a photograph), being robbed by Hong Kong pirates, hiding inside the Taj Mahal, visiting the ruins of Ruins of Ankhor, etc. etc.    Amazon.com: More Information.


53. The Long Walk.  By Slavomir Ravwicz (1956)


A 1941 escape from a Soviet labor camp leads Ravwicz and his companions several thousand miles on foot across Sibera, through China, the Gobi desert, and across the Himayalas and finally to freedom in British India.    Amazon.com: More Information.



54. Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada.  By Clarence King (1872) 


Clarence King was one of three major explorers of the American West in the post Civil War days.  The other two were Ferdinand Hayden (Yellowstone) and John Wesley Powell (Grand Canyon).  King explored the Sierras.  He writes of flora and wildlife, Yosemite, and ascents of Mount Tyndall, Mount Shasta, and Mount Whitney.  Amazon.com: More Information.



55. My Journey to Lhasa.  By Alexandra David-Neel (1927)

"The prolific writer-explorer of Tibetan topics, in the early part of this century, dreamed of actually reaching the forbidden city of Lhasa, and finally, with her indefatigable companion monk, Yongden, she made a remarkable pilgrimage to Lhasa, disguised as a pilgrim . . "


More Extensive Review by Jeff TuckerAmazon.com: More Information.



56. Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.  By John Hanning Speke (1863).  


Liam Guilar's Review: "Huge but fascinating insight into the mentality of a Victorian 'Explorer.' What he left out is almost as interesting as what he put in." Amazon.com: More Information.



57. Running the Amazon.  By Joe Kane (1989)


The first full descent of the 4,200 mile length of the Amazon River from source to sea--big rapids, drug runners, guerrillas--it's all there, the stuff of adventure.   Amazon.com: More Information.



58. Alive.  By Pier Paul Read (1974)


The story of a plane crash in the Andes and the desperate depravities forced upon the survivors in order to stay alive.   Amazon.com: More Information.



59. Principall Navigations.  By Richard Hakiuyt (1589-90)


Richard Hakiuyt was an English writer and geographer who promoted the colonization of North America.  Hakiuyt wasn't an explorer.  Rather, using translations, compilations, and eye-witness accounts, he wrote a series of geographic compendiums.  Principall Navigations is one.   The full title explains it best:  

The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation : Made by Sea or Over Land to the Most Remote and Farthest Distant Quarters of the Earth at Any Time within the Compasse of These 1500 Years : Divided into Three Several Parts According to the Positions of the Regions Whereunto They Were Directed; the First Containing the Personall Travels of the English unto Indæa, Syria, Arabia... the Second, Comprehending the Worthy Discoveries of the English Towards the North and Northeast by Sea, as of Lapland... the Third and Last, Including the English Valiant Attempts in Searching Almost all the Corners of the Vaste and New World of America... Whereunto is Added the Last Most Renowned English Navigation Round About the Whole Globe of the Earth.

Out of Print: Search Amazon for Used Copies


60. Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. By John Lloyd Stephens (1843) 


Stephens' explorations of the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan between 1839 and 1842.      Amazon.com: More Information.



61. Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex.  By Owen Chase (1821)


In 1820, a whaling ship was destroyed and sunk by a sperm whale.  Surviving members of the crew eventually made it back to safety, but did so by resorting to cannibalism.  Owen Chase, the author of Shipwreck, was the first mate of the ill-fated voyage.  Herman Melville found Chase's account perversely fascinating, and upon which, he based his literary classicMoby Dick.    Amazon.com: More Information.



62. Life in the Far West.  By George Fredrick Ruxton (1849) 


An Englishman, Ruxton was variously a soldier and traveler, spending time in Spain, Africa, Canada and the US.  In 1846, he traveled to southeastern Colorado, and later upon returning to England, he wrote a series of newspaper articles about the mountain men and trappers he met during this time.  The series became Life in the Far West.    Amazon.com: More Information.



63. My Life as an Explorer.  By Roald Amundsen (1927) 


This is the autobiography of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, one of the greatest expedition leaders of all time.  His well organized 1910 expedition was the first to reach the South Pole, easily beating Englishman Robert Falcon Scott who was making the same attempt that same year.  He was the first to traverse the fabled Northwest Passage.  And, if that wasn't enough, he also reached North Pole.    Out of Print: Search Amazon for Used Copies



64. News from Tartary.  By Peter Fleming (1936)


Liam Guilar'sReview: "Brazilian adventure starts with an ad in the Times newspaper. Soon Fleming was in Brazil looking for the lost colonel Faucet and racing the rest of his team to reach civilisation first. In News from Tartary he crosses China with Ella Maillart and reaches India. Both are examples of British understatement."  Amazon.com: More Information.



65. Annapurna: A Woman's Place.  By Arlene Blum (1980)


Nine years before attempting Annapurna, expedition leader and author, Arlene Blum, inquired about a guided climb of Denali in Alaska.  She was told that women were welcome but to help with cooking and camp chores and could only go as far as Base Camp.  That didn't sit well with Blum, and the following year, she organized her own all-women's expedition to Denali, successfully reaching the summit of the mountain.  Eventually, she set her sights on Annapurna.  I clearly remember the run-up to the climb, a period of time when most of our women employees and volunteers at our university outdoor program wore t-shirts with the slogan  "A Woman's Place is on Top."   The Annapurna expedition was successful in putting the first woman (and first American) on summit, but it was marred by tragedy.  A Woman's Place is the story of the highs and lows of this precedent setting climb.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase.



66. Bounty Mutiny.  By William Bligh (1790)


There's the novel and there's the movie, but both are based on a true event.  Bounty Mutiny is the true version told by the protagonist.  In 1789 Fletcher Christian and much of the crew of the 215 ton, three-masted Bounty, mutinied and sailed off leaving the captain William Bligh and 18 other sailors stranded on an island in the South Pacific.  In effort to save himself and his men, Bligh undertook one of the most remarkable open boat journey's ever, sailing 4,000 miles, finally reaching Timor to the north of Australia.  For a multi-facet view of the events, I recommend the version which was edited by R. D. Madison, a English professor at the United States Naval Academy(linked below).  Madison includes the full text of Bligh's Narrative of the Mutiny, along minutes of the court proceedings, correspondence, and other materials.   Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase.



67. Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea.  By Steven Callahan (1886)


After Steven Callahan's small boat capsized, he was set adrift in a leaking, inflatable raft so small that he could barely fit.  All alone and with little food, he survived and lived to tell the story of his astonishing seventy-six days trial at sea.  Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase.



68. Castaways.  By Alvar Nunex Cabez de Vaca (1555)


In 1527, an expeditionary force, 600 strong, leaves Spain with the directive to conquer Florida and nearby lands.  Once near the North American shores, however, their plans go awry and their ship is wrecked.  The men set out across land to the west, heading for the Spanish settlements in Mexico.  It took eight years.  Only Alvar Nunex Cabez de Vaca and three others made it.  This is de Vaca's story. Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase




69. Touching the Void.  By Joe Simpson (1989)


While on a descent of a cutting-edge climb of a South American peak, Simpson falls and breaks his leg.  His partner lowers the incapacitated climber down steep snow slopes, but at one point, he loses control and Simpson falls and dangles over the edge of the cliff.  His partner who is being pulled off his belay stance is left no other choice than to cut the rope. Thinking that Simpson is dead, the partner returns to base.  Simpson, however, is still very much alive.  He manages to climb out of a crevasse, and then begins crawling.  You won't be able to put this one down.  It's a remarkable story. 

Amazon.com: More Information or Purchase.



70. Tracks.  By Robyn Davidson (1980)


The intrepid Robyn Davidson treks across the out-back of Australia.  Her companions?  None other than her dog and four camels.  This is a wonderfully written work that will keep the bedside lamp burning late into the night.    Amazon.com: More Information.



71. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville.  By Washington Irving (1837)


In 1832 James Bonneville set off on a 5-year journey to the American west, all the way to the Pacific, gathering information for the young U.S. government.  This chronicle of Bonneville's adventures and discoveries was written shortly after his return by the famous author Washington Irving.   Amazon.com: More Information.



72. Cooper's Creek.  By Alan Moorehead (1963)


The story of the disastrous 1860 Burke-Wills expedition which explored the unknown interior of Australia.  Out of Print: Search Amazon for Used Copies



73. The Fearful Void: Across the Implacable Sahara.  By Geoffrey Moorhouse (1974)


Moorhouse describes the rigors of travel across the desert of North Africa in the mid-1970's.    Out of Print: Search Amazon for Used Copies



74. No Picnic on Mount Kenya.  By Felice Benuzzi (1953)


This a very different tale of mountaineering.  During World War II, the Italian Felice Benuzzi is a prisoner of war in a British camp beneath Mt Kenya.  He and two other other prisoners break out, but instead of running, their purpose is to climb the great mountain that rises above them.  They don't quite make it to the highest point on the mountain, but they do reach a secondary summit.  There they plant a homemade flag and then descend back down to once again become prisoners.    Amazon.com: More Information.



75. Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  By Theodore Roosevelt (1914)


They don't make presidents like they used to.  In 1914, five years after his last term as president, Theodore Roosevelt undertook an expedition to explore and map the River of Doubt, an unexplored branch of the Amazon River.  It was no a cake walk.  Rather, it was a deadly serious undertaking.  Roosevelt, himself, nearly died on the trip.  Roosevelt is no slouch as a writer and the story of that arduous foray is told spendidly.  (You may also be interested in a fairly new book on the expedition, also very well written:  The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard.


Theodore Roosevelt's Book:  More Information or Purchase


Candice Millard's Book:  More Information or Purchase



76. The Road to Oxiana.  By Robert Byron (1937)


Robert Byron's story of his 1933-34 journey -- and adventures and misadventures -- through the Middle East to an ancient ruins in Afghanistan.  It's a highly regarded work among travel aficionados.   Prominent author Bruce Chatwin (whose work Patagonia appears on more than one outdoor best reading list) called it "a sacred text, beyond criticism." Amazon.com: More Information.



77. Minus 148.  By Art Davidson (1969)


In February of 1967, Art Davidson and two other companions made the first winter ascent of Denali, but on the descent, a storm overtook them high on the mountain.  Taking refuge in a small snow cave and trapped for six days, they were battered by winds that exceeded 100 miles per hour and drove the wind chill factor to a unimaginable minus 148 degrees.  Amazon.com: More Information.



78. Travels.  By Ibn Battuta (1354)


This is the account of Ibn Battuta, an Islamic scholar and adventurer, who during a period of thirty years traveled some 73,000 miles throughout Middle East and way beyond to the edges of the known world.   Amazon.com: More Information.



79. Jaguars Ripped My Flesh.  By Tim Cahill (1987)


Outside columnist Tim Cahill's collection of essays ranging from poisonous snakes in the Philippines to turtles in Australia to sharks in Mexico.    Amazon.com: More Information



80. Journal of a Trapper.  By Osborne Russell (1914)


"Over a twelve year period, the mountain man and fur trapper Russell kept a journal of his experiences. In it we find descriptions of the great fur rendezvous, brushes with danger both human and animal, and of the country through which he passed ..." More Extensive Review by Jeff Tucker.  Amazon.com: More Information.



81. Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle.  By Dervla Murphy (1965)


The story of Irishwoman Dervla Murphy's 1963 solo journey on a bicycle from Ireland, across Europe, through Iran and Afghanistan and to India.     Amazon.com: More Information



82. Terra Incognita. By Sara Wheeler (1996)


In the late 1990s, Sara Wheeler's spent several months in Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists' and Writers' Program.  She mixes her experiences with the those of the early Antarctic hardmen:  Shackleton, Scott, Amunden, Mawson, and others. Amazon.com: More Information.



83. We Die Alone.  By David Howarth (1955)


During World War II, Norwegian Jan Baalsrud survives an ambush by the Nazis.  For two months, he travels across northern Norway through a land still held in the grip of winter.  He survives an avalanche, loses his toes from frostbite, and finally by a long circuitous route, he makes it to safety in neutral Sweden.  Amazon.com: More Information.



84. Kabloona.  By Gontran de Poncins (1941)


French aristocratic Poncins describes his experiences living in an Eskimo village in Canadian arctic from 1938 to 1939. Out of Print: Search Amazon for Used Copies



85. Conquistadors of the Useless.  By Lionel Terray (1961)


Lionel Terray was a prominent French mountaineer in mid 1900s.  Conquistadors is a compilation of stories of his climbs: the Alps (among others, including the Walker spur on the Grand Jorass and North Face of Eiger), the Himalaya (Annapurna), Andes (Huantsan), and the Alaska Range (Mt Hunter).  He also writes of his experience as a soldier fighting in the Alps during World War II.  Amazon.com: More Information.



86. Carrying the Fire.  By Michael Collins (1974)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



87. Adventures in the Wilderness.  By William H. H. Murray (1869)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



88. The Mountains of My Life.  By Walter Bonatti (1998)


A collection of writings of the famous Italian mountaineer Walter Bonatti.  Includes narratives of his experiences in the Alps, South America and the Himalayas.  Amazon.com: More Information.



89. Great Heart.  By James West Davidson and John Rugge (1988)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



90. Journal of the Voyage to the Pacific.  By Alexander Mackenzie (1801)
Amazon.com: More Information.



91. The Valleys of the Assassins.  By Freya Stark (1934)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



92. The Silent World.  By Jacques Cousteau (1953)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



93. Alaska Wilderness.  By Robert Marshall (1956)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



94. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians.  By George Catlin (1841)

   Amazon.com: Volume I  -  Volume II



95. I Married Adventure.  By Osa Johnson (1940)


If PBS (Public Broadcasting System) would have been around in the 1920's, 30's and 40's, they would have made Osa and Martin Johnson a mainstay.  Explorers and film makers from Kansas, this popular couple fascinated a public eager for the exotic with their adventures in Borneo, Africa, and the South Pacific.  Amazon.com: More Information.   



96. The Descent of Pierra Saint-Martin.  By Norbert Casteret (1954)

   Out of Print: Search Amazon for Used Copies



97. The Crystal Horizon.  By Reinhold Messner (1982)  


Reinhold Messner, who was the first to summit all fourteen of the world's highest peaks, is clearly one of the giants of mountaineering.  This, in his own words, is his extraordinary 1980 solo ascent of the north side of Everest.     Amazon.com: More Information.



98. Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River.  By John Kirk Townsend (1839)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



99. Grizzly Years. By Doug Peacock (1990)

   Amazon.com: More Information.



100. One Man's Mountains.  By Tom Patey (1971)

   Amazon.com: More Information.




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