The 10 Best Adventure Books

Best Adventure Books, Art of Adventure, Adventure, Reading

We love a good book, especially a good adventure or inspirational book. You won’t be disappointed by any of the books below when you read them. Read one, read them all, you and your own adventures will be better for it.

Please leave us a comment about your favorite adventure or inspirational book and share our list with your adventurous friends.  

Into Thin AirInto Thin Air by John Krakauer is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed Outside magazine journalist and author of the bestselling Into the Wild. Taking the reader step by step from Katmandu to the mountain’s deadly pinnacle, Krakauer has his readers shaking on the edge of their seat. Beyond the terrors of this account, however, he also peers deeply into the myth of the world’s tallest mountain. What it is about Everest that has compelled so many people–including himself–to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense? *




EnduranceEndurance by Alfred Lansing – The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, “defined heroism.” Alfred Lansing’s scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book — with over 200,000 copies sold — has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance’s fateful trip. To write their authoritative story, Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others. The resulting book has all the immediacy of a first-hand account, expanded with maps and illustrations especially for this edition.*




In The Heart of the SeaIn the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick – The ordeal of the whale ship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-includinga long-lost account written by the ship’s cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. *



Into The WildInto the Wild by John Krakauer – In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.*





Undaunted CourageUndaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose – In this sweeping adventure story, Stephen E. Ambrose, the bestselling author ofD-Day, presents the definitive account of one of the most momentous journeys in American history. Ambrose follows the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Thomas Jefferson’s hope of finding a waterway to the Pacific, through the heart-stopping moments of the actual trip, to Lewis’s lonely demise on the Natchez Trace. Along the way, Ambrose shows us the American West as Lewis saw it — wild, awesome, and pristinely beautiful. Undaunted Courage is a stunningly told action tale that will delight readers for generations.*




Ghost Soldiers Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides – On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. A recent prison massacre by Japanese soldiers elsewhere in the Philippines made the stakes impossibly high and left little time to plan the complex operation.

In Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides vividly re-creates this daring raid, offering a minute-by-minute narration that unfolds alongside intimate portraits of the prisoners and their lives in the camp. Sides shows how the POWs banded together to survive, defying the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and torture. Ghost Soldiers is the mesmerizing story of a remarkable mission.*


River of DoubtRiver of Doubt by Candace Millard – At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.*







Touching The Void Book Cover Touching the Void by Joe Simpson – Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.
The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall but, crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten, was trapped in a deep crevasse.
How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival; a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship.*


Kon-TikiKon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl – Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure—a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.

On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl & five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, & sharks, they sighted land—the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.*




Shadow Divers Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson – For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found; a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.  No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.*



What are your thoughts? What are your favorite adventure books?

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The Love of a Long Walk

Great Thoughts

Art of Adventure, Walking , great thoughts, Nietzche

 Guest post by Leo Babauta

Yesterday afternoon, I set off on a long walk.

I’d been having an off day, tired from lots of activities and unmotivated and my mind fixated on one thing … so I decided to walk.

I put some snacks, a book, and some water in a backpack, put on some running shorts, a long-sleeve running shirt, some good shoes and a hat. The weather was hot but not at peak intensity, at 5 p.m.

The start was really nice — it felt so good to be moving, to be outdoors, that I couldn’t help but feel liberated from the funk I’d been in. I passed other walkers, cyclists, kids playing in playgrounds, and loved seeing fellow human beings enjoying being outside.

I walked for about an hour before taking a snack and water break, and reading my book. By then, my left foot had developed a hot spot in the forefoot, but I ignored it, probably foolishly. The sun was going down a bit and the shadows were lengthening, but it was still warm.

After a break, I headed out again. My mind was calmed from all the walking, and my legs were getting a little tired, but not too bad.

After a couple hours, I started to feel some discomfort — I hadn’t walked like this in awhile, and my mind started to push back against my body’s discomfort. It was good for me to feel uncomfortable, though, so I just kept walking. Let my mind complain. It can handle it.

The sun became a bright pink, a dazzling neon red that reminded me of the 80s for some reason. It was breath-taking, and I stopped for a photo, though my phone’s camera couldn’t capture the beauty. Oh well, I’d just have to enjoy it without documentary evidence or the ability to share it with others.

I stopped for another break in a small batch of redwoods, and read. I had a few cookies, well-earned.

I kept walking, marveling at the purple and orange sky, and the ridiculously pink sun. No one else around seemed wowed by this sun, but I felt awe and joy.

My legs were tired now, but I was still about four miles from home, so I kept walking.

The light faded to twilight, then night, and I was walking in the dark. It was quiet, and I was alone, and I wanted company but couldn’t have any.

I finished the walk, 12 miles and about four hours later (including reading and snack breaks), and had a well-deserved beer. And slept as well as I’ve slept in a month.

A good walk can clear your head, push you into discomfort, and help you appreciate the majesty of life in a way that you rarely do while at home. I can’t wait to go on another today. How about you?

Guest post by Leo Babauta

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Climb that goddamn mountain!

Climb that mountain

Everyone has an Everest to climb

All of us face many uphill challenges each day, most of them are the annoying kind, traffic, work you dislike or even hate, issues at home, bills to pay, relationship problems and on and on.

These are the somewhat minor but irritating obstacles that we all deal with every day. They are the daily “mountains” we must climb because we choose to live in this challenging and crazy world. Yes, you have chosen to the greatest extent, to live the life you are living. YES you have.

Regardless, these daily challenges test our will and beat us down; preventing us from doing those things we would “really like to do”, like travelling, exploring, listening to good music, reading, enjoying time with family and friends or  literally climbing mountains. That’s right, climbing mountains!

Admit it, deep down inside you are somewhat envious  of mountain climbers, those men and women who put their lives on the line to summit the great ones, Everest, K2 and Africa’s highest Kilimanjaro. How would it be to stand on one of those peaks and feel the same sense of accomplishment and pride those climbers must feel? Likely it would make you feel like you could do anything.

While most of us will never experience the joy and feelings of success of climbing those famous peaks, we can experience that same sense of accomplishment at lower altitudes. For a lot of people climbing a mountain is just a metaphor for attaining some form of success. But I am talking about you actually climbing a mountain (or hill if that is all you can find) no matter how great or small it may be.

In doing so , you may just prove to yourself, even if it is in just the smallest of ways, that you CAN do it. You can accomplish something. You CAN climb a mountain not just metaphorically but literally.

Trust me, there is a mountain near you and you need to climb it.

Oh, but I live in Kansas you say, there are no mountains in Kansas. Nice try.

Ever hear of Mount Sunflower?

Mount Sunflower, Kansas

Mount Sunflower is the highest natural point in the state of Kansas. At 4,039 feet , it is 3,300 feet  above the state’s topographic low point in southeastern Kansas. Located in Wallace County, it is less than half a mile  from the Colorado state border and close to the lowest point in Colorado.

So there! If you can climb a “mountain” in Kansas, you can find a mountain anywhere, maybe in your own back yard. It might just be a hill like Mt. Sunflower, but I challenge you to find it.

After all, it’s not about the size of the mountain; it is about the idea of accomplishing something that matters, even if it is only primarily symbolic. How many people have climbed to the “top” of Mount Sunflower? Not likely many, but that’s not the point.

Wash your Spirit Clean

John Muir also known as "John of the Mountains"

John Muir known as “John of the Mountains”

John Muir  said “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean”.

Would summiting Mount Sunflower or some other height wash your spirit clean? Maybe. Will climbing a mountain or hill in your own backyard or a famous mountain peak “keep you close to Natures heart?” It just might, you won’t know until you try it.

The point is, all of us need to break free from the vise like grip of our day to day lives and troubles and challenge ourselves. Climbing a mountain no matter how small or obscure may be the one thing that will help you break the monotony, boredom, and malaise of the life you are living. Think of the experience as a circuit breaker that needs to be reset, clearing your head and opening your mind to the possibilities and wonders that await you.

John Muir also said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as the sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

While climbing a mountain may not totally erase the cares of your world, I can assure you that “nature’s peace will flow into you as the sunshine flows into the trees,” even if it is just for a moment. And that my friend may be enough. So now it’s up to you. Find a mountain somewhere. Hey, even a big hill will do. The point is do it, do it now!

GO! Climb that goddamn Mountain!

Have you had a climbing experience of your own? Tell us about it. Leave a comment.

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Because it's there T-Shirt, Art of Adventure

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