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The 86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time

Reading and Travel Guide
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Arabian Sands

ARB15
Wilfred Thesiger
Penguin
2007
400
0141442077
PAPER
Exploration
0
1
0
0
The last of the great British traveler-explorers, Thesiger (1910-2003) journeyed among the nomadic camel-breeding peoples of Southern Arabia in the late 1940s, falling in love with the desert and ways of life of the Bedouin. This eloquent book is his tribute to them.
$17.00

Travels with Myself and Another, A Memoir

TVL25
Martha Gellhorn
Penguin Putnam
2001
304
1585420905
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
The other, of course, being Ernest Hemingway, Gelhorn's husband at the time. A marvelous, incisive writer who covered every important conflict from from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam and Nicaragua, Martha Gelhorn writes of her time in East Africa with Heminway, a visit with Chiang Kai-Shek, Soviet Moscow and other unforgettable journeys in this collection, first published in 1979.
$17.00

A Barbarian in Asia

SEA06
Henri Michaux
New Directions Publishing Corporation
2016
198
0811209911
PAPER
Cultural Portrait
0
0
0
0
A poet, painter and personality, Michaux (Ecuador) captures the sublime and ridiculous in this satisfying collection of vignettes inspired by his travels in India, China and Japan in the 1930s.
$15.95

Down the Nile, Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff

EGY207
Rosemary Mahoney
Little Brown and Company
2008
273
0316019011
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
In this marvelously engaging chronicle, Mahoney weaves the tale of her quest to row the Nile with deft portraits of the people she meets.
$15.99

Iron and Silk

CHN52
Mark Salzman
Vintage Books
1990
211
0394755111
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Salzman gets himself to Changsha in the mid-1980s on the pretext of teaching English to Chinese doctors. His real mission, however, is to become a kung fu master. In this wonderfully readable travelogue he conveys a sense of contemporary life.
$15.95

The Nomad, The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

NAF59
Isabelle Eberhardt
Interlink Publishing Group
2003
208
1566565081
PAPER
Biography/Memoir
0
0
0
0
The daring adventures of the late 19th-century Swiss journalist who adopted Islam and traveled the Sahara disguised as an Arab man.
$15.00

The Pine Barrens

USE418
John McPhee
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
1978
157
0374514429
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Classic essays on the nature, history and personalities of New Jersey's Pine Barrens by the Pulitzer Prize-winner. McPhee digs deep into tales of the wildfires and the Jersey Devil, the rise and fall of iron towns and efforts to protect this rich, unusual environment from development.
$15.00

Sea and Sardinia

ITL349
D.H. Lawrence
Penguin
1999
211
0141180765
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
A marvelous account of a trip to Sardinia, evoking both the charms and travails of the then-remote island and the personality of the author. It's a pleasingly exaggerated, accessible portrait of life on the island, circa 1921.
$17.00

Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World

MRC60
Paul Bowles, Edmund White (Introduction)
HarperCollins
2006
192
0061137375
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Bowles' classic collection of essays about place, originally published in the 1950s, including his travels to Morocco, Istanbul, South America and Sri Lanka.
$13.99

To a Distant Island

RUS269
James McConkey
Paul Dry Books
2000
0966491351
PAPER
Biography/Memoir
0
0
0
0
A transporting tale combining exquisite language and insightful commentary on Chekhov and his remarkable journey in 1890 from Moscow to Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East.
$14.95

A View of the World, Selected Journalism

TVL24
Norman Lewis
Sickle Moon
2004
320
0907871437
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
This enormously pleasurable omnibus from the 1940s to the 1980s includes 20 samples of travels, adventures and encounters to Belize, Liberia, Guatemala, the Amazon, Sardinia and Cuba by the ever insightful Norman Lewis.
$35.00

The Worst Journey in the World

ANT23
Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Penguin
2006
573
0143039385
PAPER
Exploration
0
1
0
0
Cherry-Garrard's epic midwinter jaunt to an emperor penguin rookery is just a warm-up for the main event: Scott's doomed last expedition.
$18.00

Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

ANT396
Alfred Lansing
Hachette
2015
416
0465062881
PAPER
History
1
1
0
0
Lansing's gripping day-by-day story of Shackleton's legendary perseverance is essential reading for any Antarctic traveler. This 100th anniversary edition is outfitted with maps, an expanded selection of Frank Hurley's photographs and an introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick.
$16.99

Farthest North

ARC60
Fridtjof Nansen
Modern Library
1999
544
0375754725
PAPER
Exploration
0
0
0
0
The great Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen's classic account of the voyage of the Fram, originally published in 1897, interspersed with dozens of original photographs.
$27.00

In Patagonia

PAT01
Bruce Chatwin
Penguin
1989
204
0142437190
PAPER
Travel Narrative
1
1
0
0
A masterpiece of travel, history and adventure, this award-winning book captures the spirit of the land, history, wildlife and people of Patagonia. There is no travel writer as engaging, insightful and just plain wonderful as Bruce Chatwin.
$17.00

In Trouble Again

AMZ04
Redmond O'Hanlon
Vintage Books
1990
272
0679727140
PAPER
Exploration
0
1
0
0
As funny as he is insightful, O'Hanlon starts his comic masterpiece of a journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon with a litany of the insects, protozoa, snakes and predators that can do you harm.
$16.00

Life on the Mississippi

USS05
Mark Twain
Modern Library
2007
388
0140390502
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Twain returns to the days of his youth spent on the Mississippi in this classic. Full of historical information, anecdotes, character sketches and fond memories, it's at once a romantic history of a mighty river and an autobiographical account of Twain's early steamboat days.
$13.00

Great Plains

USW172
Ian Frazier
Picador USA
2001
292
0312278500
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
A marvelously digressive, wide-ranging account of 25,000 miles worth of travels criss-crossing throughout the Great Plains, combining first-rate reportage and history.
$18.00

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

USW254
Hunter S. Thompson
Vintage Books
1998
204
0679785892
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
The classic of 1970s gonzo journalism and a dizzying chronicle of a duo's drug-induced misadventures and scrapes with the people of Las Vegas.
$15.00

Blue Highways, A Journey into America

USA31
William Least Heat Moon
Little Brown and Company
1999
429
0316353299
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
On the road with Ghost Dancing (his van), William Least Heat-Moon criss-crosses the country on its backroads, discovering some pretty wonderful personalities en route in this portrait of a multi-faceted eccentric America.
$16.00

The Lewis and Clark Journals

USW428
Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Gary Moulton (Editor)
Bison Books
2004
544
0803280394
PAPER
Biography/Memoir
0
0
0
0
The definitive one-volume selection of the most significant, noteworthy and historic entries from the journals of Lewis and Clark, with helpful scholarly notes and annotations.
$19.95

In the Country of Country, A Journey to the Roots of American Music

MUS33
Nicholas Dawidoff
Vintage Books
1998
384
037570082X
PAPER
Music
0
0
0
0
A heartfelt account of a journey through the South in search of traditional country music. The author interviews luminaries from the genre's heyday, including George Jones, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe.
$18.95

The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark

USW463
Gary Moulton (Editor), Meriwether Lewis, William Clark
University of Nebraska Press
2002
3404
0803280165
PAPER
Biography/Memoir
0
0
0
0
The seven core volumes of Moulton's authoritative Lewis and Clark journals, in a paper edition. With maps, illustrations and invaluable footnotes.
$174.00

Democracy in America

USA173
Alexis de Tocqueville
HarperCollins Publishers
2007
777
0060008733
PAPER
Cultural Portrait
0
0
0
0
An abdridged edition ofToqueville's classic and prescient study of America's evolving democracy.
$16.99

I See By My Outfit

USA174
Peter S. Beagle
National Book Network
2007
238
1933572078
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Although better-known for his fantasy writing (The Last Unicorn), Beagle penned a winning travelogue about his journey across a changing America on a motor scooter in 1963. A classic, newly reprinted.
$14.95

Portraits and Observations, The Essays of Truman Capote

USA175
Truman Capote
Random House
2007
528
1400066611
HARD COVER
Anthology
0
0
0
0
The most complete single-volume collection of Truman Capote's essays, from celebrity profiles to his acclaimed literary nonfiction. This anthology includes a reprint of The Muses Are Heard, Capote's 1956 satirical portrait of an American theater troupe performing Porgy and Bess in Soviet Russia.
$28.95

North American Indians

USW532
George Catlin
Penguin
2004
560
0142437506
PAPER
Journal
0
0
0
0
A painter and naturally acute observer, Catlin traveled in the Native American lands of the Great Plains from 1831 to 1837. These published journals provide a rare window into a civilization on the verge of annihilation.
$17.00

Captain John Smith, Writings With Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of Virginia

USA176
James Horn
Library of America
2007
1344
1598530011
HARD COVER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
John Smith's collected writings on the New World, supplemented with contemporary accounts and illustrations, offers a fascinating look at the beginnings of the United States through the eyes of the legendary adventurer.
$45.00

The Innocents Abroad

MDE08
Mark Twain
Modern Library
2003
523
0451525027
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Mark Twain's witty and classic account of his 1867 grand tour of Europe. With his disarming wit, Clemens makes the very best traveling companion. The section on his visit to "the land which was the mother of civilization" is a celebrated highlight.
$17.00

Two Towns in Provence

FRN27
M. F. K. Fisher
Vintage Books
1983
208
0394716310
PAPER
Biography/Memoir
0
1
0
0
Celebrated food writer M.F.K. Fisher contrasts village life in Aix-en-Provence with bustling Marseilles, evoking these two favorite places with anecdote and loving description.
$18.95

Down and Out in Paris and London

GBR99
George Orwell
Harcourt Books
1972
213
015626224X
PAPER
Literature
0
0
0
0
Orwell's first published work, this novel -- based, in part, on true experiences -- is a tale of the underclass in 1930's Paris and London.
$14.95

Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture

PGL23
Jose Saramago
Harvest Books
2002
464
0156007134
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditation.
$17.95

Travels Through France and Italy

EUR124
Tobias Smollett
Northwestern
1997
144
0810160536
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
An irascible, appreciative account of travels -- and the foibles of continentals -- by the 18th-century British novelist. A pleasure.
$24.95

A Time of Gifts

CEU30
Patrick Leigh Fermor
NYRB
2005
384
1590171659
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience gives the book particular poignancy.
$16.95

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

FRN538
Robert Louis Stevenson
Penguin
2005
269
0141439467
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Stevenson's sprightly, humorous account of ten days with a stubborn donkey named Modestine in the French Cevennes.
$17.00

As They Were

FRN705
M. F. K. Fisher
Vintage Books
1983
272
0394713486
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
This marvelous collection of autobiographical essays by the celebrated, much-adored Fisher covers her life, family, food and adventures from Whittier, California to the south of France.
$16.00

The Rings of Saturn

GBR738
Winfried Georg Sebald
New Directions Publishing Corporation
1999
296
0811214133
PAPER
Literature
0
0
0
0
When the late W.G. Sebald embarked on a solitary tour of Suffolk, England, his encounters with windswept coastlines and lonely eccentrics were woven into beautiful and fragmented ruminations on history, memory, loss and exile.
$16.95

The Histories

MED15
Herodotus
Penguin
1994
656
0140449086
PAPER
History
0
0
0
0
In what may be the first travel book, Herodotus records the heroic struggle between Europe and Asia that culminated in the invasion of Greece by Xerxes.
$13.00

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia

BLK04
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens (Introduction)
Penguin
2007
1181
0140188479
PAPER
History
0
0
0
0
First published in 1941, this monumental work explores the complex history of Yugoslavia, its heroes, politics and culture. It's a big, challenging book -- some call it the best ever written on the Balkans.
$28.00

Pillars of Hercules

MED20
Paul Theroux
Fawcett
1996
509
0449910857
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Theroux seems to have had an exceptionally good time on his tour of the Mediterranean, circling the celebrated sea on foot, horseback, train and boat from Gibraltar to North Africa.
$18.00

Southern Baroque Art

EUR281
Sacheverell Sitwell
Lightning Source
2006
352
1406796166
PAPER
Art & Architecture
0
0
0
0
A facsimile edition of Sitwell's 1924 survey of 17th and 18th-century painting, architecture and music in Italy and Spain.
$30.99

West with the Night

EAF10
Beryl Markham
North Point Press
2013
294
0865471185
PAPER
Biography/Memoir
0
1
0
0
Markham evokes the landscapes, people and wildlife of East Africa in engrossing detail in this classic memoir of amazing adventures as a bush pilot in 1930s Kenya. A favorite.
$16.00

The Emperor, Downfall of an Autocrat

ETP10
Ryszard Kapuscinski
Vintage Books
1989
180
0679722033
PAPER
History
0
0
0
0
In 1975, Kapuscinski traveled throughout Ethiopia and listened to stories about the Supreme Emperor Haile Selassie told by the servants and associates that surrounded him while Ethiopia collapsed around him. Kapuscinski transformed the interviews into a powerful narrative of the high living and unimaginable abuse within the ancient regime.
$14.95

Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa

WAF40
Mungo Park
John Beaufoy Publishing
2010
272
0486479137
PAPER
Exploration
0
0
0
0
Park chronicles the culture, society and nature of West Africa before the colonial period in this classic account of a 24-year-old Scotsman exploring, often alone, in uncharted Africa. First published in 1799.
$12.95

No Mercy, A Journey to the Heart of the Congo

CAF01
Redmond O'Hanlon
Vintage Books
1998
462
0679737324
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
A trek deep into the Congo with Redmond O'Hanlon, the eccentric, courageous, always entertaining modern adventurer.
$16.95

Dark Star Safari

AFR131
Paul Theroux
Mariner Books
2004
472
0618446877
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
0
Setting the tone for his odyssey from Cairo to the Cape, Theroux writes in the opening: "All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again...I aimed to reinsert myself in the bundu, as we used to call the bush, and to wander the antique hinterland."
$16.95

More Books

Old Glory, A Voyage Down the Mississippi

USS42
Jonathan Raban
Random House
1998
409
0375701001
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
1
Raban tackles the "Mighty Mississippi" aboard a 16-foot motorboat in this entertaining portrait of contemporary life on the river, featuring places and people he encounters along the way from from Minnesota to Mississippi.
$18.00

The Lawrence Durrell Travel Reader

GRE186
Lawrence Durrell, Clint Willis (Editor)
Da Capo Press
2004
405
0786713704
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
1
Durrell's intoxicating reflections on Greece and the Mediterranean. With chapters on Corfu, Rhodes, Cyprus, Sicily, Delphi and Provence.
$15.00

London Perceived

GBR310
Evelyn Hofer (Photographer), V. S. Pritchett
David R. Godine
2002
214
1567921485
PAPER
Cultural Portrait
0
0
0
1
A classic, lyrical celebration of the palaces, parks, people and everyday experience of London. Pritchett's eloquent riffs on the character of the city are accompanied by evocative black-and-white photographs by the superb Evelyn Hofer.
$19.95

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

CAS32
Eric Newby
Lonely Planet Publications
2008
255
0864426046
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
1
0
1
Newby wrote a string of memorable books about his adventures, often on a bicycle, but sometimes by foot or train, usually with his wife. This classic is a superb example of the misguided lark: a comically ill-prepared jaunt in the Naristan mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. "People like it," he explained, "when things go wrong."
$14.99

Cross Country

USA135
Robert Sullivan
Bloomsbury USA
2007
416
1596911379
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
1
Sullivan's marvelously digressive chronicle of a cross-country car trip, the history of the Interstate system, fast-food, variety of to-go coffee cup lids, the marvels of the roadside attraction and many, many other subjects.
$14.95

Notes from the Century Before, A Journal from British Columbia

CND189
Edward Hoagland, Jon Krakauer (Editor)
Modern Library
2002
304
0375759433
PAPER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
1
A classic portrait of a disappearing way of life in Northwest British Columbia. In 1966, Hoagland spent three months in the backcountry chatting up the locals. His essays introduce a lively cast of old-timers and capture the essence of a way of life quickly slipping away. First published in 1969.
$19.00

The Impossible Country, A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia

BLK22
Brian Hall
David R. Godine
1994
448
0140249230
HARD COVER
Travel Narrative
0
0
0
1
Beautifully written, this chronicle of the people, politics and mood of the Yugoslavia as it crumbles is an engaging snapshot and elegy.
$23.95