Annapurna by Maurice Herzog
Herzog’s account of the first summit of Annapurna, a 26,200 ft mountain in the Himalayas. As expedition leader, Herzog and his team not only had to reach the summit but had to create a climbing route, as the mountain was almost completely uncharted. A classic of the mountaineering genre.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place By Aron Ralston
Ralston’s tale is one of pure determination and the will to survive. While climbing in a Utah canyon, a falling boulder wedged Ralston’s arm between the rock and the canyon wall, effectively trapping him. Surviving for six days on virtually nothing, he eventually cuts off his own arm with a pocket knife and makes his escape, which included repelling down a cliff one-armed and a lengthy hike before he found rescue.
K2: The Savage Mountain by Charles S Houston & Robert H. Bates
K2, the world’s second highest mountain, has rightfully earned the nickname the savage mountain, with approximately one of every four who attempt a summit dying in the process. This is the story of the first Americans to reach the summit of K2 and successfully return, as told by the mountaineers themselves.
The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America’s Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas by Todd Balf
With less than 100 miles separating Atlantic and Pacific in sections of Panama, one would think that finding a route across would be simple enough. As this book shows, however, many dangers awaited the 1854 U.S. Darien Exploring Expedition, which miserably failed in its task, suffering from disorientation, disease and death before turning back.
The Race for Timbuktu: In Search of Africa’s City of Gold by Frank Kryza
The search for Timbuktu of legend, Africa’s mythical gilded city, drew adventurers and treasure seekers like moths to a flame, and often at their own peril. Here the author gives detailed accounts of the major expeditions in search of Timbuktu, along with the unbearable hardships faced by those who endured them.
Cabeza de Vaca’s Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
The tale of the Spanish adventurer Cabeza de Vaca, who led an group across the North American continent long before the days of Lewis and Clark. Travelling over a course of eight years, he crossed much of modern day Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before turning south into Mexico.
True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole by Bruce Henderson
A lively account of turn of the century race to reach the North Pole. Frederick Cook had not been back long from allegedly reaching the North Pole when Robert Peary surfaced, claiming to have beaten him there. So who was the conqueror of the North? In an adventurous retelling of the men’s expeditions, Henderson seeks to settle the debate once and for all.
Touching My Father’s Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay
Another account of the 1996 Everest disaster (see Krakauer’s Into Thin Air) as told by the leader of the IMAX expedition on the mountain at the time, Jamling Tenzing Norgay. Norgay, son of the legendary Tenzing Norgay who first conquered Everest with Hillary, offers his own account of the disaster while simultaneously sharing intimate stories of his father’s legendary climbing career.
A Man On the Moon: Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin
July 20, 1969 will long be hailed as the ultimate testament to mankind’s spirit of exploration. With no more distant lands to explore, man took to the stars, beginning what will be the next stage of exploration and stepping boldly once again into the unknown. Recalling in detail the triumphs and tragedies of the Apollo missions, Chaikin places us right in the command module and rockets us into the heavens alongside the brave men who achieved what most had long considered impossible.
Mawson’s Will: The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written by Lennard Bickel
In 1911 Sir Douglas Mawson, setting out with a small team to chart the Antarctic coastline, had little idea that he was embarking on what would become one of the greatest stories of survival in the history of polar exploration. Following the death of his entire team and the loss of most of his equipment, Mawson is left alone to survive in the frozen wilderness and lives to tell the tale.