10 Adventure Books You Must Read18 May 2018, Posted by Life in
A gentleman should be well-read and cultured. Intelligence is one of those intangible aspects of life that just can’t be purchased. Not everyone has the desire nor the time to read thousands of novels, but there are a few books that should be read.
One genre that should not be overlooked is nonfiction. There have been some amazing people in our past who have done many absolutely incredible feats.
Whether it is a tale of survival, exploration or just general adventure, the real stories of these great men should be celebrated and enjoyed.
Men crave adventure. It is eagerly sought out and every little boy dreams of having some sort of crazy adventure at one point or time during their childhood. It’s the wanderlust that drives the adventurous spirit and there are many pioneers who validated the necessity for adventure.
This is by no means intended to be a comprehensive list of all the greatest literary nonfiction since the Chinese created woodblock printing which, eventually, led to the invention of movable type and the printing press.
What we have compiled for you is a list of 10 great adventure books that every man should read at some point during his lifetime. Why? It’s simple. Men are creatures who seek adventure and while many people find that in different environments, the true test of a man’s mettle is found within nature.
These are books that show the power of the human spirit and many of the narratives might tell of disaster and men who attempt to overcome adversity. If you haven’t read these titles, you’ll be glad that you did.
1. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer was a writer for Outside magazine at the time that he decided to participate in the 1996 Mt. Everest expedition that eventually left eight people dead after being caught in a blizzard.
Krakauer was originally only supposed to climb to Mt. Everest’s base camp but decided to take on the summit of Everest a year later. His is a firsthand account of the tragedy in 1996 that tells a tragic tale of multiple teams of climbers pushed to the limits as they try to get off Mt. Everest alive.
2. Alive by Piers Paul Read
Read recounts the tale of a rugby team from Uruguay whose flight crashed in the Andes Mountain Range in 1973. The team’s only shelter was the wrecked fuselage of the downed aircraft and they had a small amount of wine and cheese as their food supplies.
16 of the original 32 survivors made it out alive from their 72 days stranded in the mountains where they were eventually forced to eat their own just to survive.
3. Adrift: Seventy Six Days Lost At Sea by Steven Callahan
Callahan was participating in a transatlantic sailing race when he was shipwrecked and stranded at sea for 76 days. He had minimal equipment to help him navigate his life raft. He battled exposure, shark attacks and violent weather during his ordeal at sea.
4.Into the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
This is supposedly the tale that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. This story tells the tale of the Whaleship Essex which was sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. Some of the crew were able to escape to a nearby island where they struggled to survive. Much like in Alive, the survivors had to look to their dead as the only viable food supply.
5. The Man Eaters of Tsavo by Colonel Henry Patterson
Patterson was a Lieutenant Colonel in the British East Africa Company who was assigned to build a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River in Africa. The locals were terrorized and routinely killed by a pair of man-eating lions. The locals dubbed them the Ghost in the Darkness.
Patterson’s tale of trying to build the bridge and fight off the man eaters is a very action packed and suspenseful tale. The lions terrorized the natives for over a year and completely halted the construction of the bridge.
It was the basis for the movie the Ghost in the Darkness starring Michael Douglas in 1998.
6. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
Another mountaineering tale set in the Peruvian Andes. Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, attempted to climb the Siula Grande peak. Known to be deadly and treacherous.
Simpson fell off the peak and broke his leg. Yates attempted to lower him down but was forced to cut Simpson free to save his own life. Yates presumed Simpson was dead and returned to base camp. Simpson was not dead and spent the next 3.5 days crawling his way out of the mountains, frostbitten and hypothermic, just before Yates was about to leave.
7. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Another entry by Krakauer, Into the Wild tells the tale of Christopher McCandless, who sacrificed a bright future for a life spent on the road. McCandless eventually finds his way to Alaska, where his goal is to survive on his own in the tough Alaskan wilderness.
Krakauer does a magnificent job of relaying the psychological effect that time spent in isolation had on McCandless, who eventually realizes that a life spent without the company of others is no life at all.
McCandless’ decomposed body was found four months after his disappearance into the wild by a local hunter.
8. Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King
King examines the aftermath of the wreck of The Commerce off the coast of Africa in 1815. The crew was forced ashore and made a harrowing trek across the Sahara Desert. King did an incredible job of researching the journals to recreate the tale of the crew’s survival in one of the harshest environments on Earth.
9. In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton
317 sailors out of 880 survived for 4 days in the freezing water of the Pacific after their ship, the U.S.S. Indianapolis, was sunk by a Japanese Submarine in July 1945. Many of the men did not have lifejackets and were constantly fighting off shark attacks in the frigid Pacific waters.
10. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Junger tells the tale of the fishing boat, the Andrea Gail, which was lost at sea on Halloween in 1991 during an epic Nor’easter storm. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in the life of a commercial fisherman.
All these great books are titles that any man of adventure should become familiar with. These tragic tales of survival should serve as an inspiration for men everywhere.