Stepping Out Into the World – Top 10 True Adventure Books
Posted on November 30, 2022
by Amy H
The best adventure stories enlighten as well as entertain us. It’s one thing to show how something exciting happened, another to show what we can learn from this amazing experience. Below are some wonderful recently written true adventure stories to enjoy.
Buck relates building a wooden flatboat like those used in the early 1800s and sailing down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, aiming to relive the initial expansion of the United States by intrepid farmers, merchants, and hopeful pioneers. He shares great stories of the history of the river and those he meets along the way as he navigates the dangers of one of the largest rivers in the US. American history buffs and armchair adventurers will relish the trip.
In March 1931, a 2-man expedition ventured out to the wilds of Greenland to relieve a fellow team member who had been braving deteriorating weather conditions with dwindling supplies and manning a distant weather station solo for months. Soon all three would be fighting for their lives. Perfect for fans of adventure stories, this is stellar writing and an essential read for Arctic enthusiasts.
Catch Me if You Can: One Woman’s Journey to Every Country in the World by Jessica Nabongo
In 1854, the Royal Geographical Society chose Richard Francis Burton to lead an expedition to locate the source of the longest branch of the Nile River. Millard creates a palpable sense of the daunting task undertaken by three ambitious men: the magnetic, impulsive, and often combative expedition leader Richard Burton; John Hanning Speke, an aristocratic infantry lieutenant and passionate hunter whose initial interest in East Africa was largely for the animals he could kill; and their resourceful native guide, Sidi Mubarak Bombay a former enslaved person whose intimate knowledge of tribes and terrain proved to be indispensable. Readers will be riveted in this engrossing, sharply drawn adventure tale.
16th-century Dutch explorer William Barents and his crew of sixteen ventured farther north than any Europeans before and, on their third polar exploration, they lost their ship off the frozen coast of Nova Zembla to unforgiving ice. The men would spend the next year fighting off ravenous polar bears, gnawing hunger, and endless winter. Pitzer masterfully combines a gripping tale of survival with a sweeping history of the great Age of Exploration.
Outdoor educator and field researcher Sara Dykman is the first person to bicycle alongside monarch butterflies on their storied annual migration–a round-trip adventure that included three countries and more than 10,000 miles. An extraordinary story in which Dykman seamlessly weaves together science, a real love of nature and the adventure and hazards of biking with butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back.
Journalist Salama debuts with a mesmerizing travelogue spanning four weeks on different stretches of Colombia’s Magdalena River, including embarking on a hunt for invasive hippos with local biologists and befriending a former schoolteacher who delivers books, via donkey, to local children. Through keen reporting, Salama unpacks how “the ever-shifting fortunes of the Colombian people have long mirrored the rise and fall of their country’s greatest river”–from the river’s booming “golden age” in the 1940s to its ecological ruin and the violence of guerrilla war that plagued subsequent decades. Both complex and achingly beautiful, this is outstanding and insightful writing.
Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax,” conservationist Lowman takes a passionate look at the “unexplored wonderland” of trees in this vivid survey of life among forest canopies. Over half of all land creatures live “about one hundred feet or more above our heads,” Lowman writes, and notes that, historically, information about trees has focused from “trunk-level,” despite the fact that the dark ground is vastly different from the sun-filled canopy. This is a winning combination of fascinating science and real-life adventure making a highly engaging read.
Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas
In the vein of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, this riveting work of narrative nonfiction centers on the unsolved disappearance of an American backpacker in India in 2016–one of at least two dozen tourists who have met a similar fate in the remote and storied Parvati Valley.
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