60 Best Adventure Books of All Time (Updated for 2018) - Greenbelly Meals

60 Best Adventure Books of All Time


A list of the best fiction and non-fiction adventure books.
International Travel, Hiking, Survival, War and the Classics all included.


CLASSIC ADVENTURE BOOKS


On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

An autobiographical fictionalized account of Kerouac's and Neal Cassady real-life adventures as they travel across the US. An iconic representation of the rebellious counterculture later developed in the 1960's.

See on amazon.


Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

A classic tale about eight English schoolboys who are stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. At first, the boys cooperate to survive, but their tenuous hierarchy quickly falls apart.

See on amazon.


60 The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson

by Johann David Wyss

A family's struggle to create a new life after they blew off course and were shipwrecked on a tropical island.

See on amazon.


Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour

Last of the Breed

by Louis L'Amour

Classic Louis L’Amour tale of U.S. Air Force Major Joe Mack who must make it across the vast Siberian wilderness after escaping a Soviet prison camp.

See on amazon.


My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

My Side of the Mountain

by Jean Craighead George

Written for kids as well as adults, My Side of the Mountain tells the story of young Sam Gribley who leaves the city to live in the woods for a year. Great book to read to kids.

See on amazon.


My First Summer in the Sierra  by John Muir

My First Summer in the Sierra

by John Muir

The title says it all. A beautiful account of the Sierras by the venerable John Muir.

See on amazon.


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe

by Daniel Defoe

Published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe tells the story of a castaway who was stranded on a remote island for 28 years before being rescued.

See on amazon.


Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley

In Search of America

by John Steinbeck

Fearing that he has lost touch with the heart and soul of America, author John Steinbeck traveled through almost 40 US states with his dog Charley by his side.

See on amazon.


Walden: Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Walden

Life in the Woods

by Henry David Thoreau

A classic reflection on simpler living from Thoreau who spent two years living in a cabin that he built near Walden Pond.

See on amazon.


Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days

by Jules Verne

Around the World in 8- days tells the fictional story of Phileas Fogg who bets his friends he can travel across the globe in just 80 days.

See on amazon.


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

A timeless classic story of the adventures of the young Huck Finn, his friend Tom Sawyer and Jim, an escaping slave. Set in Missouri in the 1800s.

See on amazon.


The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of The Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

A classic tale of good versus evil set in the fictional Middle-Earth that pits the powerful, wizard Sauron against the endearing hobbit Frodo.

See on amazon.


The Call of the Wild (Aladdin Classics)

Call of the Wild

by Jack London

After being stolen and sold as sled dog during the 1890s Gold Rush, Buck must learn to trust and love again when he is freed from abusiv owners and adopted by Thornton, a kind Alaskan outdoorsman.

See on amazon.


The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine

by H.G. Wells

Journey to the future and back in this classic science-fiction adventure book from H.G. Wells.

See on amazon.


Out of Africa / Shadows on the Grass by Isak Dinesen

Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass

by Isak Dinesen

Isak Dinesen's gripping memoir about her years on a coffee plantation in Africa detailing the beauty of the landscapes and the people of Africa that she loved.

See on amazon.


SURVIVAL ADVENTURE BOOKS


Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air

by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer journals his attempt to summit Everest during the deadliest season ever recorded in history.

See on amazon.


Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into The Wild

by Jon Krakauer

Christopher Johnson McCandless left his comfortable life in the states and traveled to Alaska to experience the raw wilderness surrounding Mount McKinley. He never returned.

See on amazon.


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Hatchet

by Gary Paulsen

In this fictional survival story, Thirteen-year-old plane Brian Robeson is the only survivor of a plane crash in the Canadian mountains. Armed with only a hatchet and will to live, Brian learns how to keep himself alive.

See on amazon.


The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

by Stephen King

Stephen's King's tale of a post-apocalyptic world where good and evil face the ultimate battle.

See on amazon.


Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury

Bushcraft 101

A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

by Dave Canterbury

Everything you need to know about backcountry survival in one book.

See on amazon.


Life of Pi

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

Life of Pi tells the story of sixteen-year-old Pi, who survived the sinking of a cargo ship along with a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

See on amazon.


Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King

Skeletons on the Zahara

A True Story of Survival

by Dean King

A true story of twelve American sailors who captured and sold into slavery after their ship sunk off the coast of Africa in 1815.

See on amazon.


Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson

Touching the Void

The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

by Joe Simpson

Two young mountaineers heard into the Peruvian Andes to conquer an unclimbed route. Only one made it back. This is his story.

See on amazon.


Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why  by Laurence Gonzales

Deep Survival

Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

by Laurence Gonzales

In this well-researched book, Gonzales attempts to explain why some people survive disasters while others perish.

See on amazon.


22 Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts

Alone on the Ice

The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration

by David Roberts

Roberts tells the gripping tale of Douglas Mawson, the leader of the 1912 Australasian Antarctic Expedition who struggles against all the odds to bring his team back after their expedition goes horribly awry.

See on amazon.


The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian

by Andy Weir

Astronaut Mark Watney was one of the first people to walk on Mars, and now he may become the first one to die there after the failed expedition leaves him stranded on the red planet alone.

See on amazon.


In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea

The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick

In 1820, the whaleship Essex was sunk by a charging sperm whale forcing the crew to survive for a staggering 90 days in three small boats.

See on amazon.


One Second After by William R. Forstchen

One Second After

by William R. Forstchen

The US is plunged into chaos after a high-altitude nuclear bomb releases an electromagnetic pulse that instantly disables almost every electrical device.

See on amazon.


TRAVEL ADVENTURE BOOKS


Blood River: The Terrifying Journey Through The World's Most Dangerous Country  by Tim Butcher

Blood River

The Terrifying Journey Through The World's Most Dangerous Country

by Tim Butcher

Inspired by legendary explorer H. M. Stanley who mapped the Congo River in 1874, Daily Telegraph correspondent Tim Butcher has his own harrowing journey through the heart of Africa.

See on amazon.


World Walk By Steven Newman

World Walk

by Steven Newman

Steven Newman left his home in Ohio and spent the next four years walking the globe on a journey that would take him through 21 countries across five continents.

See on amazon.


The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

The Wave

In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

by Susan Casey

Mixing a lesson in science with extreme adventuring, Susan Casey explores the mystery of rogue waves with scientists and extreme surfers.

See on amazon.


Pass the Butterworms: Remote Journeys Oddly Rendered by Tim Cahill

Pass the Butterworms

Remote Journeys Oddly Rendered

by Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill regales us with tales of visits to far off locations. The collection of short stories will leave laughing, crying and wanting to embark on your own adventure.

See on amazon.


The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara

The Motorcycle Diaries

Notes on a Latin American Journey

by Ernesto Che Guevara

Argentine Ernesto "Che" Guevara may be known for role in the Cuban revolution, but before he was a revolutionary, Guevara spent eight months traveling across Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

See on amazon.


In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

In a Sunburned Country

by Bill Bryson

In a funny, fact-filled narrative, travel writer Bill Bryson reports on the time he spent wandering through Australia.

See on amazon.


Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Endurance

Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

by Alfred Lansing

An adventure book classic. A shipwreck forced polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew to abandon their 1814 Antarctic expedition and nearly perish while walking 850-miles to nearest outpost.

See on amazon.


How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter by Matt Kepnes

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter

by Matt Kepnes

In this book, Matt Kepnes shares his tips and tricks on how you can travel the world on a shoestring budget.

See on amazon.


A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain

A Cook's Tour

by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain combines his loves of cooking and traveling in this book that chronicles his quest to find the perfect meal.

See on amazon.


The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach

by Alex Garland

Tired of the excesses of modern Western Culture, three travelers follow a hand-drawn map to an untouched utopia in the Gulf of Thailand that is populated by a few wandering souls. Made more famous by the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

See on amazon.


A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols

A Voyage for Madmen

by Peter Nichols

In 1968, Nine sailors competed to do the impossible --single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. Only one completed the journey.

See on amazon.


The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner

The Geography of Bliss

One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

by Eric Weiner

Author Eric Weiner travels the world to discover the happiest places on the earth.

See on amazon.


The Signature of All Things: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things

A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

Anna Whittaker family was born into a wealthy, but secluded family. After finding her soulmate, the debutante travels the world learning about life and love.

See on amazon.


Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding

An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

by Rolf Potts

Learn how you can flex your independent spirit and achieve your dream of traveling the world.

See on amazon.


WAR ADVENTURE BOOKS


Empire Of The Sun by J.G. Ballard

Empire Of The Sun

by J.G. Ballard

An enthralling look at China in WWII through the eyes of a young boy who lost his parents in the war and was imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp.

See on amazon.


The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy

The Hunt For Red October

by Tom Clancy

Tensions between Russia and the US rise when the commander of a top-secret Russian submarine plans to defect.

See on amazon.


Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken

A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

One of the best adventure tales put into writing in the last decade. Biography of Louis Zamperini who survives a plane crash over the Pacific ocean only to find himself adrift at sea for 47 days before being captured by the Japanese and spending more than two years as a POW.

See on amazon.


Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke

Elephant Company

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II

by Vicki Constantine Croke

Elephant Company tells the little-known story of Billy Williams, an Englishman living in Burma who used elephants to thwart the invading Imperial Japanese forces in 1942.

See on amazon.


With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge

With the Old Breed

At Peleliu and Okinawa

by E. B. Sledge

A gripping first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa during WWII.

See on amazon.


The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War

The Trigger

Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War

Tim Butcher

Journalist Tim Butcher explores the complex political and societal conflicts that led nineteen-year-old Gavrilo Princip to fatally shoot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and start WWI.

See on amazon.


All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque

One of the greatest war novels of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front immerses your in the trench warfare of WWI through the eyes of a young German soldier.

See on amazon.


A World Undone by G. J. Meyer

A World Undone

by G. J. Meyer

If you want to understand WWI, why it happened and how it happened, then this is the research narrative for you.

See on amazon.


Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With The Wind

by Margaret Mitchell

Considered the great American novel, Gone with the Wind tells the story of Southern socialite Scarlett O’Hara, who saw her life changed by the Civil War.

See on amazon.


The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer

The Naked And The Dead

by Norman Mailer

An Army platoon of Americans fight against themselves as much as their Japanese enemies as they try to secure the jungle island of Anopopei during WWII.

See on amazon.


1776 by David McCullough

1776

by David McCullough

A stirring account of the events in 1776 that led to the birth of a nation.

See on amazon.


HIKING ADVENTURE BOOKS


Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian by Ben Montgomery

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian

by Ben Montgomery

Grandma Gatewood is a legend on the AT. Not only was she the first woman to solo hike the trail, but she also was the first one to walk to walk it twice. This is her story.

See on amazon.


Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Becoming Odyssa

Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Fall in love with the AT in this story of triumph and tragedy as we follow in the footsteps of Pharr-Davis who hit the trail straight out of college.

See on amazon.


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild

From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl lost her mother, lost her marriage and had nothing left, so she hit in the trail in this epic tale that has inspired thousands to thru-hike the PCT.

See on amazon.


AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

by David Miller

Software engineer David Miller left his job to pursue his dream of hiking the AT. His tale captures the highs and the lows of a thru-hike.

See on amazon.


North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott and Jenny Jurek

North

Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail

by Scott and Jenny Jurek

Follow Ultrarunner Scott Jurek and his wife Jenny as he pushes himself to his physical and mental limits when he sets the Fastest Known Time for the AT in 2015.

See on amazon.


Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart

An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Carrot Quinn

Walk with Carrot and her companions in this colorful and engaging story that describes the physical and emotional ups and downs of a thru-hike.

See on amazon.


A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods

Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

by Bill Bryson

Noted travel author Bill Bryson attempts the AT with his sidekick Stephen in this entertaining tale.

See on amazon.




Any of your favorites not listed? Please share with the class in the comments below.



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By Kelly Hodgkins: Kelly is a full-time backpacking guru. She can be found on New Hampshire and Maine trails, leading group backpacking trips, trail running or alpine skiing.
About Greenbelly: After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.



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