100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time

Need a book to read (and swat at mosquitoes with) on the float down the Mekong? Or perhaps inspiration for the commuter train rider, the breed of cubicle dweller covertly stashing funds away in anticipation of resignation day and leaving the world of paisley ties and stale office coffee for good?

National Geographic has composed a list of the “100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time”. The list is from 2004, but most of these books are timeless classics, with the earliest “Top 10” book originally written in 1298.

Last year, World Hum also composed a list of the 30 Greatest Travel Books that Rolf blogged about last May.

According to National Geographic, the top 10 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time are:

1. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)
As a young man, Cherry-Garrard accompanied Robert Falcon Scott on his 1910 journey into the Antarctic. Among his duties were collecting emperor penguin eggs midwinter in utter darkness, as the temperature plunged to -70F.

2. Journals, by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (1814)
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark spent over two years traveling from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and back, exploring the wild Louisiana Territory. Their journals chronicle the drudgery, frustration, discovery, and triumph of their journey.

3. Wind, Sand & Stars, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1940)
Saint-Exupéry flew mail from France to Spain in the 1920’s and piloted his plane (which had no radio) in all weather using unreliable maps over Europe and North Africa. He faced hardship and adventure; once his plane’s engine quit without warning, leaving him and his companion stranded in the Libyan Desert without water.

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

5. Arabian Sands, by Wilfred Thesiger (1959)

6. Annapurna, by Maurice Herzog (1952)

7. Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey (1968)

8. West With the Night, by Beryl Markham (1942)

9. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer (1997)

10. Travels, by Marco Polo (1298)

The complete list of 100 can be found here. Happy reading!

Posted by | Comments (3)  | April 26, 2007
Category: Travel Writing

3 Responses to “100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time”

  1. justin Says:

    Into Thin Air is one of my favorites… as is one that’s not on the list:

    Paddling the Amazon, by Don Starkell.

  2. Paul Lease Says:

    Belongs in Top Ten —
    No Shortcuts To The Top
    by Ed Viesturs with David Roberts
    A companion book to Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer