Nothing speaks to the heart of man like a good tale of adventure. Whether in the form of a bedtime story read to young boys or a nail biting page turner that keeps you up at night, the adventure story is one genre of literature that stays with you for a lifetime. The very mention of such novels brings to mind images of buried treasure, hidden deep in the jungle of a deserted island, protected by dastardly pirates and the local cannibal population. Or perhaps the mind jumps instead to the image of a forgotten world, complete with lost civilization and monstrous creatures of a bygone era.
Whatever your personal adventure fantasy, there are some stories we all can relate to. Listed here, in no particular order, are fifty adventure novels that no man should go a lifetime without reading. This is not considered a complete list of all the great adventure novels, so please take advantage of the comments section to share what other adventure novels you recommend to your fellow men. Also, be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming second part of this series, The Essential Man’s Library: 50 Nonfiction Adventure Books Edition.
And now, to jump into the world of high adventure….
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A tale of survival, Hatchet traces the story of young Brian, who is left stranded in the Canadian wilderness when his plane crashes. Forced to survive with little food or gear, Brian’s will to live is put to the test.
Easily the best known adventure novel, this is Stevenson’s masterpiece. The son of an innkeeper, young Jim Hawkins finds himself thrust into the world of piracy as he joins Long John Silver in the search for buried treasure.
Stranded on a desert island as a result of a catastrophic shipwreck, a family is forced to survive with nothing but the natural resources available. Eventually, they are able to create an impressive compound within which they are able to live at ease in their jungle surroundings.
Follow the adventures of Harvey Cheyne, son of a railroad tycoon, as he is thrown overboard on a steamship journey, only to be rescued by fishermen who eventually mold him into a true seafarer.
A college professor and his young apprentice follow instructions on a broken pottery shard that lead them to a fabled lost city in the jungles of Africa, where they encounter She Who Must Be Obeyed, the seemingly immortal ruler of the land.
Set sixteen years after the events of She, this novels follows the same characters as they travel to the far reaches of the earth seeking out a reincarnation of She Who Must Be Obeyed.
Adventurer Allan Quatermain is drafted into a search and rescue party that leads into the great unknown of unexplored Africa, where entire civilizations are discovered and rumors of the location of the mines of King Solomon lead the team on one of the greatest adventures in all of literature.
Out of the dark we came, into the dark we go. Like a storm-driven bird at night we fly out of the Nowhere; for a moment our wings are seen in the light of the fire, and, lo! we are gone again into the Nowhere.
A two for one deal, this book chronicles the dangerous lives of the early mail pilots as told by Saint-Exupery, author of Wind, Sand and Stars and himself an accomplished pilot.
This timeless classic by Arthur Conan Doyle inspired the imagination of countless young boys and spawned what is now known as the Lost World genre. Inside its pages the protagonist, Professor Challenger, plays tour guide on an undiscovered plateau in South America, filled with dinosaurs and other mystical creatures that time seemingly forgot.
Rudyard Kipling’s famous short story about two wandering British adventurers who somehow manage to become kings of Kafiristan, only to suffer a drastic fall from power.