The best books about the Camino de Santiago

The Books I Picked & Why

A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés): St. Jean - Roncesvalles - Santiago

By John Brierley

A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés): St. Jean - Roncesvalles - Santiago

Why this book?

This was easily the most useful item we took with us on our own Camino. The maps in Brierley’s guidebook were easy to follow, the descriptions were comprehensive, the recommendations were up to date.

In writing this guidebook, Brierley has balanced philosophical questions about pilgrimage with a host of practical details. Breaking up the journey from St Jean Pied de Port (which is where the majority of pilgrims start their journey) to Santiago de Compostela into thirty-three stages, he has meticulously researched each stage providing a map and contour guide for each - so the walker knows what kind of route, distance and elevation to expect each day. In addition, he provides helpful listings of accommodation and eating places along the journey.


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The Way, My Way

By Bill Bennett

The Way, My Way

Why this book?

Bill Bennett’s book is written in a typically frank, down-to-earth Aussie manner – yet the author manages to combine humour with humility. He writes with an engaging yet self-deprecating style about his thoughts and emotions, the entertaining characters, and unusual situations he encountered along the journey - as well as the highs and lows of his journey. These are all described without reservation, giving the reader an insight into not only his journey but also his own personal struggles.


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A Journey of Days

By Guy Thatcher

A Journey of Days

Why this book?

Guy Thatcher's book contains useful information and evocative descriptions of places along the trail, people he met, the weather he encountered, and his everyday experience - together with pertinent observations and views. If you have done the pilgrimage, you will enjoy revisiting it through this book. If you are thinking about doing the pilgrimage, it will set the scene and encourage you to undertake it.


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The Camino Ingles: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

By Susan Jagannath

The Camino Ingles: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

Why this book?

For anyone who would like to walk the Camino Ingles (the 'Short Camino' - or the 'Road less traveled by'), Susan Jagannath's book is the ideal companion.

I liked the way she began each chapter with an apt quotation. In addition to encouraging and motivating the reader to undertake this journey, she provides much practical advice about planning and preparation, and then proceeds to describe her own journey along this ‘One Week Camino’ together with a lot of useful information about places to stay and things to see as well as addresses, phone numbers, and webpages. The e-book is regularly updated – which makes it essential reading for the prospective pilgrim


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A Soldier to Santiago: Finding Peace on the Warrior Path

By Brad Genereux

A Soldier to Santiago: Finding Peace on the Warrior Path

Why this book?

As a military veteran myself, Brad Genereaux’s story deeply touched me on many levels.

He talks about the three things a veteran loses when he or she leaves the military – a sense of Purpose, a supportive community, and a feeling of self-worth. Serving in uniform, soldiers give their all for their country, yet once their service is over many find themselves inadequately supported and unable to settle back into civilian life.

A Soldier to Santiago is the honest story of a stiff, formal, no-nonsense Senior Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy - someone who’d spent years building walls inside himself to compartmentalise the violence and tragedies that had been part of his 22-year military life. Once he left the service he found himself descending into a dark depressive hole without purpose, identity, or mission in life. 

In his own words, he discovered “I fit in….nowhere”.

Brad’s pilgrimage along The Camino helped him change from being a totally military-minded, mission-oriented person trying to fight his demons and forget the images of war that kept haunting him - into a much calmer human being. Step by step as he walked along the pilgrim trail, the walls of his negativity and his lack of faith in humanity began to crumble away and he discovered what many of us have done on this pilgrimage – it is impossible to walk this journey without journeying into oneself.

Having come through an internal storm Brad found himself at peace; he could forgive others and also himself. He began to make a purposeful effort to see the good and positive in the world rather than the dark cloud of negativity he’d been focusing on for so long. This is one man’s story of how he found peace along the pilgrimage to Santiago. I strongly recommend this book. I believe that reading it will encourage others, especially Veterans and those who once were Warriors, to consider undertaking a journey along the Camino.


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