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Catalog

Best of 2006

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

Our favorite 15 books of the year, a mix of illustrated books, history, literature and travel.

Galen Rowell, A Retrospective

Galen Rowell, A Retrospective

by Sierra Club | Galen Rowell

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

A tribute to the traveler, photographer and friend, by a host of contributors and the editors of Sierra Club books, featuring a stunning sampling of Rowell's magnficent color photographs, including the Himalayas, Antarctica and the Arctic. (PHT21, $39.95)

Historical Atlas of the United States

Historical Atlas of the United States

by Derek Hayes

  • REFERENCE
  • 2006
  • HARD COVER
  • 280 PAGES

Geographer Hayes assembles an impressive array of original maps in this stunning visual history of America from European discovery and exploration through western expansion, railroads, the growth of cities to Interstates and the Cold War. (USA150, $47.95)

The Middle Sea

The Middle Sea

by John Julius Norwich

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 720 PAGES

A marvelous writer who has already written on Byzantium, Venice and the Sahara, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean. (MED98, $21.00)

The Classical World

The Classical World

by Robin Lane Fox

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 656 PAGES

From Homer to Hadrian, Fox conjures tyrants, conquerors and enthralling personalities in this marvelously written history of ancient Greece and Rome. (GRE293, $22.99)

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

by Beppe Severgnini

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. The book opens with a snapshot of Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia. (ITL718, $15.00)

Reluctant Mr. Darwin, An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution

Reluctant Mr. Darwin, An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution

by David Quammen

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

Quammen hits just the right note in this sprightly tale of the man, his ideas and their impact, weaving well-chosen anecdote, solid science and travel. (NAT94, $14.95)

The Places in Between

The Places in Between

by Rory Stewart

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

Rory Stewart illuminates the absurdity, plight and peril of war-ravaged Afghanistan in his thrilling, poignant account of a walk across the country from Herat to Kabul in the dead of winter. (MDE100, $15.99)

Overthrow, America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Overthrow, America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

by Stephen Kinzer

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

In this compelling review of American adventures overseas, Kinzer crisply outlines the events, politics and personalities of 14 cases in which America has brought down foreign governments over the last 110 years. (USA148, $19.99)

The Naked Tourist, In Search of Adventure and Beauty in the Age of the Airport Mall

The Naked Tourist, In Search of Adventure and Beauty in the Age of the Airport Mall

by Lawrence Osborne

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

New York Times Magazine writer Lawrence Osborne takes off on a six-month journey from the fabricated islands of Dubai to India, Bangkok, Bali and Papua New Guinea. Along the way, he is funny and insightful about the Western mind, the exotic and primitive, asking: "Why travel at all?" (SEA50, $20.00)

A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife

A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife

by Richard Sale

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 464 PAGES

This stunning primer features hundreds of spectacular color photographs, range maps and descriptions of 200 birds and 77 mammals. (ARC190, $35.00)

Oracle Bones

Oracle Bones

by Peter Hessler

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 512 PAGES

In this fine portrait of tumult and tradition, Hessler (River Town) finds clues to modern China's realities in the personal stories of peasants, scholars, day laborers and activists. (CHN316, $15.99)

The Caliph's House, A Year in Casablanca

The Caliph's House, A Year in Casablanca

by Tahir Shah

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 343 PAGES

A great storyteller, of Afghan descent and English-raised, Shah leads us through Moroccan society and culture with deft portraits of ordinary neighbors and craftsmen as he and his wife transform a crumbling palace in old Casablanca. (MRC66, $16.00)

The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

by Kiran Desai

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

Alternating between a once grand household in northern India and the life of the cook's son in New York, this novel by the marvelous and wise Desai skewers the aspirations and reality of both worlds. (IDA303, $14.95)

 
Bradt Safari Guide Northern Tanzania

Bradt Safari Guide Northern Tanzania


by Chris McIntyre | Philip Briggs

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 430 PAGES

A compact, practical overview of the history, wildlife and attractions of the Serengeti and surrounding parks, including Zanzibar. (EAF143, $25.99)

A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia

A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia


by Thomas Keneally

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales with drama and flair, richly evoking the social conditions in London, long sea voyage and the conditions in Australia. (AUS177, $16.00)

Mysteries of the Middle Ages, And the Beginning of the Modern World

Mysteries of the Middle Ages, And the Beginning of the Modern World


by Thomas Cahill

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 343 PAGES

Cahill deftly evokes the historic glories of the major medieval figures (and the places they frequented) in this illuminating overview of philosophy, art and literature. (EUR239, $22.00)

The Reindeer People, Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia

The Reindeer People, Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia


by Piers Vitebsky

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 496 PAGES

Vitebsky captures the hardships, challenges and routines of the nomadic Eveny people who live on the Siberian taiga. A portrait and tribute to a culture in symbiosis with reindeer. (SIB48, $26.95)

The Spice Route, A History

The Spice Route, A History


by John Keay

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

John Keay draws on ancient logs, traveler's accounts and maps for this rousing history of trade in cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pepper, gums, resins and other costly goods from antiquity to the 17th century. (ASA52, $29.95)

The Cave Painters

The Cave Painters


by Gregory Curtis

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

In this tale of art, paleontology and discovery, Curtis introduces the masterworks of cave art in France and Spain, visiting Altamira, Lascaux, Les Trois-Freres, Cosquer, Chauvet and others. (FRN620, $16.95)

Climbing the Mango Trees, A Memoir of a Childhood in India

Climbing the Mango Trees, A Memoir of a Childhood in India


by Madhur Jaffrey

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

An actress and food writer, Jaffrey combines her warm tale of coming-of-age in a sprawling homestead in Old Delhi with 32 recipes. (IDA327, $15.95)

My Life in France

My Life in France


by Julia Child

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 317 PAGES

Child's characteristically ebullient record of Paris and Provence, her many friends, family and memorable meals, in the years after WWII, turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci (as husband Paul). (FRN596, $16.00)

Scott of the Antarctic, A Life of Courage and Tragedy

Scott of the Antarctic, A Life of Courage and Tragedy


by David Crane

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 608 PAGES

In this balanced and dramatic biography, Crane looks at Robert Falcon Scott afresh in the context of Edwardian exploration and empire, showing him to a be flawed hero but a hero nonetheless. (ANT233, $16.95)

Under The Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, North Korea and the Kim Dynasty

Under The Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, North Korea and the Kim Dynasty


by Bradley K. Martin

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 876 PAGES

A detailed portrait of Kim Il Sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-Il, their monstrous egos, appetites and monuments, and of the relationship of North Korea to the rest of the world, by a Newsweek bureau chief. (KOR18, $25.99)

Absurdistan

Absurdistan


by Gary Shteyngart

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 333 PAGES

Shteyngart, a young Russian immigrant himself, riffs on the privilege and behavior of the new breed of Russian oligarchs along with many more less politically correct targets in this outrageous first novel set in the Bronx, St. Petersburg and oil-besotted Absurdsvani. (RUS321, $16.00)

Measuring the World, A Novel

Measuring the World, A Novel


by Daniel Kehlmann | Carol Brown Janeway

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

Kehlman interweaves the lives and adventures of explorer Alexander Von Humboldt and mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss with wit and invention in this surprise bestselling novel of South American travel, science and ideas. (GER202, $16.00)

Russian Short Stories

Russian Short Stories


by Robert Chandler

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 396 PAGES

This fine collection of tales captures the sweep and soul of Russian literature, including works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tolstoy along with lesser-known greats. (RUS288, $20.00)

The Night Watch

The Night Watch


by Sarah Waters

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 450 PAGES

Waters gradually reveals her characters in this intricately plotted, atmospheric novel set in London in the 1940s. (GBR681, $16.00)

The Ruby in Her Navel, A Novel of Love and Intrigue in the 12th Century

The Ruby in Her Navel, A Novel of Love and Intrigue in the 12th Century


by Barry Unsworth

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

Unsworth transports the reader to the 12th century in this richly imagined novel of love and intrigue set in Norman Sicily, where Christian knights, Anatolian belly dancers, Jews and Arabs mix and mingle. (ITL760, $23.95)

The Secret River

The Secret River


by Kate Grenville

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 334 PAGES

Inspired by the history of her own family, Kate Grenville evokes all the bravado, trickery and conflict over the settlement of New South Wales in her tale of a Thames boatsman banished to the new colony in 1806. (AUS179, $16.00)

The Whistling Season

The Whistling Season


by Ivan Doig

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Doig's richly textured novel of the Old West revolves around a rancher, a new housekeeper (can't cook but doesn't bite) and her scholarly, mysterious brother, who takes over as schoolteacher in Marias Coulee, Montana. (RKY94, $14.95)

The World of the Polar Bear

The World of the Polar Bear


by Norbert Rosing

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 204 PAGES

Rosing provides all-new photography for this paper edition of his sumptuous and informative book, showcasing not only the photogenic bears and their cubs but also the sly Arctic fox, sleek seals, ungainly walruses, myriad seabirds and glimmering aurora borealis. (ARC50, $29.95)

Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World

Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World


by Hadoram Shirihai | Brett Jarrett

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

This eye-catching Princeton Field Guide by Shirihai and illustrator Jarrett is noteworthy for its 450 excellent color photographs, range maps and text, all bundled in a compact package. (FG62, $24.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.