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Thread: Essential Books?

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    Essential Books?

    I was inspired by Roadtripper's thread on essential adventure/exploration movies. I'm more into books but I didn't want to hijack that thread so I was wondering if people could recommend their favorite reads along this line.

    One of my favorites was just turned into a movie: Lansing, Alfred (2001). Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-02978-2919-5.

    If you're not familiar with the story of the 1914-1915 trans-Antarctic Expedition, you've got to check it out. Their ship got stuck in the ice and they had to abandon ship in November. For a couple of months they camped on a large ice floe and then successfully brought his crew out in a small open boat to South Georgia Island crossing many hundreds of miles of stormy ocean to do so. It is an amazing story.

    Others?

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    Senior Member audrey's Avatar
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    I loved the Shackleton book too.

    "Into the Heart of Borneo" Redmond O'Hanlon
    "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush" Eric Newby (one of my top ten)
    "The Odyssey" Homer
    "We Took to the Woods" Louise Dickinson Rich (If you love the Rangeley
    area,this takes you right there)
    "Coming into the Country" (about Alaska) John McPhee
    "Skeletons on the Zahara" Dean King (12 shipwrecked American sailors sold
    into slavery in 1815)
    "The Worst Journey in the World" Apsley Cherry-Garrard (600 pages! by a survivor of Scott's expedition)

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    Senior Member Jason Berard's Avatar
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    "Savages" by Joe Kane. About living with the Houarani tribe in the Amazon as they try to survive missionaries, Big Oil, and geopolitics. Not sure if that exactly fits, but it is a great read.

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    Senior Member poison ivy's Avatar
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    I can't get enough of the adventure books... especially South Pole expeditions. Here are a few of my absolute favorites....

    "The Worst Journey in the World" by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. He was a member of Scott's ill-fated attempt to be the first man on the South Pole. This books focuses on a trip to the penguin rookery... lots of adventure and well written.

    "Mawson's Will" By Leonard Bickel.. another great south pole epic. Mawson went out to chart the coastline of Antartica and nearly died after losing his men, most of his supplies and his dogs.

    "Desert Solitaire" By Edward Abbey. If you're into adventure books you've probably already read it... definitely deserving of its classic reputation as Abbey describes the landscape of the southwest.

    "West With the Night" By Beryl Markham... she was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to West and some of this book focuses on her adventures as a bush pilot. But the parts that always stand out to are her childhood stories of growing up in Africa.

    "Wind, Sand and Stars" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery -- about the author's experiences as a pilot, flying across Africa and South America. For some reason, everytime I start reading through the first chapter or so I think "Why do I like this book again?" But the later chapters are just amazing and engrossing.

    "In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods" By Galen Rowell... about the failed 1975 American attempt at K2. I really like reading the nitty gritty and infighting of these expeditions... even though Rowell's works have been kind of ruined for my due to his treatment of Arlene Blum following her Anapurna expedition.

    And finally, of course, Nicholas Howe's "Not Without Peril" is great for tales of misadventures in the White Moutains. Just don't let your non-hiking friends and family borrow it.

    - Ivy

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    Senior Member brianW's Avatar
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    "The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz a story of pow escaping a prison camp in Siberia and walking to freedom in India.

    "Touchin the Void" Joe Simpson, great survival story
    "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" Aron Ralston, could you cut your arm off?and then hike out a canyon?
    "Endurance" by Lansing one of my favorite books
    " The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator" -Louis Pasteur

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    Quote Originally Posted by poison ivy View Post
    I can't get enough of the adventure books... especially South Pole expeditions. Here are a few of my absolute favorites....

    ...

    "Desert Solitaire" By Edward Abbey. If you're into adventure books you've probably already read it... definitely deserving of its classic reputation as Abbey describes the landscape of the southwest.

    "West With the Night" By Beryl Markham... she was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to West and some of this book focuses on her adventures as a bush pilot. But the parts that always stand out to are her childhood stories of growing up in Africa.

    ...

    - Ivy
    Oh wow, I forgot about these two. They're great. Thanks Poison Ivy!

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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    I was completely enthralled by "Ghosts of Everest," the story of the expedition that found Mallory's body. Great mystery story, and wonderfully creepy. (Slight squick warning on some of the photos.)

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    Senior Member hikingmaineac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Berard View Post
    "Savages" by Joe Kane. About living with the Houarani tribe in the Amazon as they try to survive missionaries, Big Oil, and geopolitics. Not sure if that exactly fits, but it is a great read.
    "Running the Amazon," by Joe Kane is another really great book - it's about the first source-to-sea expedition of the Amazon.
    Last edited by hikingmaineac; 11-17-2008 at 08:48 AM.

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    Senior Member evilhanz's Avatar
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    On the subject of polar exploration:

    In the Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov is the story of a 1912 Russian expedition to the north pole. Led by an incompetent commander on an inadequately prepared ship, they lacked charts, sufficient fuel, or proper provisions and eventually became trapped in the ice in the Kara Sea. After a year and a half adrift, the navigator of the ship (Albanov) led a party across the ice in search of rescue. The book is based on his diary.

    Farthest North by Fridtjof Nansen. His famous ship, the Fram, was designed to drift on top of the ice. Nansen believed he could ride the ice sheet to the pole. After a year, it became clear that would not happen, so he set out on foot, knowing he could not return to the ship. Although he didn't make the pole, he went further than anyone else had gone before.

    Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls true stories of castaways and other survivors by Edward Leslie. This is one of my all-time favorite "adventure" books. It's about survivors of shipwrecks, plane crashes, and other disasters, including people lost for long periods of time in the wilderness - what they went through, how they survived, etc. It's a well-researched compilation. These kinds of books tend to be sensationalized, but the author treats the subject with proper dignity and offers insightful analyses.

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    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    ‘‘‘Deborah’ and ‘The Mountain of My Fear,’’’ by David Roberts.

    ‘‘The Seven Summits,’’ by Dick Bass, Frank Wells, and Rick Ridgeway.

    ‘‘The Monkey Wrench Gang’’ and ‘‘Hayduke Lives!’’ by Edward Abbey.

    ‘‘A Walk in the Woods,’’ by Bill Bryson. Get the audio version read by Ron McLarty.

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    Senior Member JohnL's Avatar
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    For starters, check out National Geographic's 100 greatest adventure books http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ad...ure_books.html.

    Here are a few of my personal favorites not on this list:
    Snow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest by Ed Webster
    The best (IMHO) Everest book around. Great writing and excellent photos.

    The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk by Jennifer Niven
    Bad planning, ice bound ship, death and starvation, castaway on a small arctic island and a 700 mile ice trek to Siberia all add up to a wonderful read.

    The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
    Harrowing account of the first trip down an unexplored tributary, Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt), of the Amazon. Bad planning, over confidence, anacondas, insects, murder, an execution, TR nearly died twice all make this a gripping read.

    The Big Open by Rick Ridgeway
    Ridgeway, with Galen Rowell, Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker trace the migration route of the chiru (Tibetan antelope) by hauling their 200 pound rickshaws over the Chang Tang in western Tibet in order to aid George Schaller's studies of the animal and to help stop the illegal poaching of this beautiful animal. Like Ridgeway's other books, it is well written and is a difficult book to lay aside while reading it.

    The Villain: A Portrait of Don Whillans by Jim Perrin
    Hilarious book about a socially troubled man but without a doubt, a true pioneer of hard rock. A great biographical sketch of the man and his times.

    JohnL
    Once in a while
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    Senior Member weatherman's Avatar
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    Great thread! I have my Christmas list out and am adding to it.

    I think I've read "Desert Solitaire" about a zillion times. Never gets old.

    Depending on the kind of "adventure" you're after, "McCarthy's Bar" is one of my recent favorites. Good for the post-hike adventure category. It's about a guy named Pete McCarthy who sets off on a mission to visit all the pubs in Ireland with his name on them. Had me on the floor laughing more than once.

    Weatherman
    --would rather be hiking than typing.

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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Adm. Peary's journals of his "discovery" of the north pole are a good read, especially for winter hiking and camping enthusiasts. I doubt it is in print but you can find it in many libraries ... probably hasn't been checked out for decades.

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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Adm. Peary's journals of his "discovery" of the north pole are a good read, especially for winter hiking and camping enthusiasts. I doubt it is in print but you can find it in many libraries ... probably hasn't been checked out for decades.
    Peary's adventures, and his great rivalry with Cook (con man or the real "discoverer" of the North Pole?) are worth reading about. I recently discovered the Peary North Pole Museum on the campus of Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine. The Admiral was a devoted Polar Bear alum. and left his memorabilia to the College, which displays it in a couple of big rooms on the first floor of a rambling old science building on the main Quad. You could easily spend a couple of hours there, and if you're really dedicated, combine it with a ferry ride to Eagle Island in Casco Bay, Peary's retirement retreat and now a State park of some sort.

    But my favorite of the above suggestions is:

    Quote Originally Posted by audrey View Post
    "The Odyssey" Homer
    Scylla and Charybdis - the original Rock and a Hard Place - the Sirens, the cave of the Cyclops, and Circe, the enchantress who turned men into swine - the original and still the best adventure epic.

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    Member Tuggy's Avatar
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    "Points Unknown" by David Roberts. This is a collection of one to two chapter length exerpts from a wide variety of adventure books ranging from climbing, kayaking canyons, polar exploration, Borneo, desert, ocean, and whatever. It picks out a highpoint in the book and gives you a good read. Certainly it moves you beyond your fireplace and favorite chair. I picked this book up in Pinkham Notch visitor center.

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