The best books on travel for former military and adventure enthusiasts

Who am I?

In today’s tech-obsessed world, social media may well be the perfect platform to showcase the world’s beauty to armchair travelers across the globe, but travel is so much more than just getting that perfect Instagram shot. Travel should be meaningful. It should excite and inspire you, rejuvenate and ground you, educate and challenge you, and most importantly, humble you. Travel gives us our most wondrous stories, our most cherished memories, and countless irreplaceable learnings that we can choose to pay forward to others. It teaches us about ourselves and each other, it broadens our horizons, and, just like a reset button, it forces us to refocus on what matters.


I wrote...

Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

By Jaime Salazar,

Book cover of Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

What is my book about?

Salado Creek, Texas, 1918: Thirteen black soldiers stood at attention in front of gallows erected specifically for their hanging. They had been convicted of participating in one of America’s most infamous black uprisings, the Camp Logan Mutiny, otherwise known as the 1917 Houston Riots. The revolt and ensuing riots were carried out by men of the 3rd Battalion of the all-black 24th U.S. Infantry Regiment—the famed Buffalo Soldiers—after members of the Houston Police Department violently menaced them and citizens of the local black community. This took place over one single bloody night.

In the wake of the uprising, scores lay dead, including bystanders, police, and soldiers. This incident remains one of Texas’ most complicated and misrepresented historical events. Mutiny of Rage sheds new light on a suppressed chapter in U.S. history.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Travels with Charley in Search of America

Jaime Salazar Why did I love this book?

My most formative moments in life came about when I was traveling. I have always had a passion for exploring new and fascinating places. My curiosity has not always worked to my benefit, as a stint in the Foreign Legion proved, but I still live my life with a wanderlust and a mild addiction to adventure. My passion for travel and adventure stemmed from my reading habits. The best travel books open the window to novel perspectives on life, people, and attitudes. Join me. 

To hear the voice of the real USA, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. Along the way, he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Travels with Charley in Search of America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An intimate journey across America, as told by one of its most beloved writers

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light-these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.

With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the…


Book cover of Vagabonds in France

Jaime Salazar Why did I love this book?

Vagabonds in France is a lighthearted book about an unexpected travel adventure to France. Please find out how life threw a lemon at this couple by losing their home and their attempt to make lemonade. Putting all their furniture in storage, they left everything behind to experience an adventure of a lifetime. With no mortgage or rent to pay, they left with no return date or home to come back to. They traveled from Florida (Tampa and Key West) to Portugal (Funchal, Madeira), to Spain (Malaga, Cartagena, and Barcelona), to the Cote d'Azur in the south of France (Antibes, Nice, Eze, St. Paul de Vence), to Provence (Arles, Avignon), then a month in Paris.

By Michael A. Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vagabonds in France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Vagabonds in France" is a lighthearted book about an unexpected travel adventure to France. Find out how life threw a lemon at us with losing our home, and our attempt to make lemonade. Putting all our furniture in storage, we left everything behind to experience an adventure of a lifetime. With no mortgage or rent to pay, we left with no return date or home to come back to. We traveled from Florida (Tampa and Key West), to Portugal (Funchal, Madeira), to Spain (Malaga, Cartagena, and Barcelona), to the Côte d'Azur in the south of France (Antibes, Nice, Eze, St.…


Book cover of Living in Italy: the Real Deal

Jaime Salazar Why did I love this book?

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair, you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast. For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. Moreover, for those interested in practical advice on buying a house in Italy there is valuable information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories. Glossary of Italian words and expressions included!

By Stef Smulders, Emese Mayhew (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living in Italy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Dutch bestseller, finally available in translation! 

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy to live La Dolce Vita? Have a Reality Check first!

Stef & Nico did take the leap, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.

For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful…


Book cover of Amerzonia: A Savage Journey Through The Americas

Jaime Salazar Why did I love this book?

Tijuana, Batopilas, Tegucigalpa, Medellin, Iquitos: just some of the exotic, strange—and at times downright dangerous—destinations passed through on this riotous overland odyssey through Americas central and south. It’s a savage journey that takes Mark from Los Angeles to the Amazon—through Mexico and Guatemala and Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Panama, Colombia and Ecuador and Peru. On his ride into the dark south of the Americas: a failed revolution, a spewing volcano, a drawer of cocaine; and a surreal succession of encounters with an assortment of characters normally avoided—Scientologists, shamans, narcos. He risks his freedom, his sanity, his life. By the end, he finally finds a point to it all: he goes far to find…

By Mark Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amerzonia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tijuana, Batopilas, Tegucigalpa, Medellin, Iquitos: just some of the exotic, strange — and at times downright dangerous — destinations passed through on this riotous overland odyssey through Americas central and south. It’s a savage journey that takes Mark from Los Angeles to the Amazon — through Mexico and Guatemala and Honduras, through Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Panama, through Colombia and Ecuador and Peru. On his ride into the dark south of the Americas: a failed revolution, a spewing volcano, a drawer of cocaine; and a surreal succession of encounters with an assortment of oddballs and freaks.


Book cover of Cuba Open from the Inside: Travels in the Forbidden Land

Jaime Salazar Why did I love this book?

Cuba occupies a place of undisputed fascination in the American psyche. This island nation remains a mystery to most Americans despite its proximity to America. Few Americans have traveled to Havana, and still fewer have traveled deeper into this isolated country.

Chris Messner, a photographer, is one of the few Americans who have been able to travel extensively throughout this island. In his book, Cuba Open from the Inside, Messner documents the character of Cuba's people, its rich history, and the country's vast culture.

As Cuba's leaders age and the possibility of travel to Cuba increases, this book acts as an exceptional resource for would-be travelers. Through multiple journeys, Messner has covered more than 4,000 miles on the back roads of Cuba. Through his words and pictures he provides a snapshot of this island nation and documents the Cuba of today—the 1950s time capsule country located 90 miles from the US coast.

By Chris Messner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cuba Open from the Inside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cuba occupies a place of undisputed fascination in the American psyche. Despite its proximity to America, this island nation remains a mystery to most Americans. Few Americans have traveled to Havana, and still fewer have traveled deeper into this isolated country.

Chris Messner, a photographer, is one of the few Americans who have been able to travel extensively throughout this island. In his book, "Cuba Open from the Inside," Messner documents the character of Cuba's people, its rich history, and the vast culture of the country.

As Cuba's leaders age and the possibility of travel to Cuba increases, this book…


You might also like...

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

By Alexander Rose,

Book cover of The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

Alexander Rose Author Of Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men's Epic Duel to Rule the World

New book alert!

Who am I?

A long time ago, I was an early-aviation historian, but eventually realized that I knew only half the story—the part about airplanes. But what about airships? Initially, I assumed, like so many others, that they were a flash-in-the-pan, a ridiculous dead-end technology, but then I realized these wondrous giants had roamed and awed the world for nearly four decades. There was a bigger story here of an old rivalry between airplanes and airships, one that had since been forgotten, and Empires of the Sky was the result.

Alexander's book list on Zeppelin airships

What is my book about?

From the author of Washington’s Spies, the thrilling story of two rival secret agents — one Confederate, the other Union — sent to Britain during the Civil War.

The South’s James Bulloch, charming and devious, was ordered to acquire a clandestine fleet intended to break Lincoln’s blockade, sink Northern merchant vessels, and drown the U.S. Navy’s mightiest ships at sea. Opposing him was Thomas Dudley, an upright Quaker lawyer determined to stop Bulloch in a spy-versus-spy game of move and countermove, gambit and sacrifice, intrigue and betrayal.

Their battleground was the Dickensian port of Liverpool, whose dockyards built more ships each year than the rest of the world combined and whose merchant princes, said one observer, were “addicted to Southern proclivities, foreign slave trade, and domestic bribery.”

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy

By Alexander Rose,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Washington's Spies, the thrilling story of the Confederate spy who came to Britain to turn the tide of the Civil War-and the Union agent resolved to stop him.

"Entertaining and deeply researched...with a rich cast of spies, crooks, bent businessmen and drunken sailors...Rose relates the tale with gusto." -The New York Times

In 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, two secret agents-one a Confederate, the other his Union rival-were dispatched to neutral Britain, each entrusted with a vital mission.

The South's James Bulloch, charming and devious, was to acquire…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, Cuba, and Italy?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, Cuba, and Italy.

France Explore 856 books about France
Cuba Explore 82 books about Cuba
Italy Explore 366 books about Italy