100 books like A Walk Across America

By Peter Jenkins,

Here are 100 books that A Walk Across America fans have personally recommended if you like A Walk Across America. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

John Staddon Author Of The New Behaviorism: Foundations of Behavioral Science

From my list on how science works, fails to work and pretends to work.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Biology emeritus. He got his PhD at Harvard and has an honorary doctorate from the Université Charles de Gaulle, Lille 3, France. His research is on the evolution and mechanisms of learning in humans and animals, the history and philosophy of psychology and biology, and the social-policy implications of science. He's the author of over 200 research papers and five books including Adaptive Behavior and Learning, The New Behaviorism: Foundations of behavioral science, 3rd edition, Unlucky Strike: Private health and the science, law and politics of smoking, 2nd edition and Science in an age of unreason.  

John's book list on how science works, fails to work and pretends to work

John Staddon Why did John love this book?

Richard Feynman was unique. A brilliant theoretical physicist, humorous, eccentric, and independent.

Feynman’s genius gave him a certain freedom, which he exploited to the full. The book is autobiographical and shows his often irresponsible behavior but also a relentless curiosity, and willingness to try anything, the essence of a successful scientist.

One cannot hope to imitate Feynman (and perhaps we should not: he was often mischievous, even mildly malicious); but any scientist should envy the way he approached problems in engineering as well as science—and the book is fun!

By Richard P. Feynman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard P. Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. In this lively work that "can shatter the stereotype of the stuffy scientist" (Detroit Free Press), Feynman recounts his experiences trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets-and much more of an eyebrow-raising nature. In his stories, Feynman's life shines through in all its eccentric glory-a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

Included for this edition is a new introduction by Bill Gates.


Book cover of Travels with Charley in Search of America

Eyal Halfon Author Of They Were Here Before Us: Stories from Our First Million Years

From my list on traveling the world from your armchair.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I became a filmmaker and many years before I knew what pre-history meant, I was a restless traveler. I was an adventurer and a hiker, fascinated by maps and mountain peaks and constantly searching for the best place for a coffee break. In my list, I have tried to combine my passion for traveling with what is really important in life: people, friends, and travel companions.

Eyal's book list on traveling the world from your armchair

Eyal Halfon Why did Eyal love this book?

I wish I could be there, in the back seat of Steinbeck’s pickup truck…with a 10-year-old French poodle named Charlie.

Steinbeck's travelogue is a farewell to the America he knew and an observation of a country that is changing before his eyes. What a joy it could have been to join this great writer (and the poodle) if only for a part of his 10,000-mile road trip across the USA at the beginning of the 60s.

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

13 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 Where the Heart Is

Margaret Meps Schulte Author Of Strangers Have the Best Candy

From my list on getting you talking to strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a youngster, my parents took me on 6-week journeys across the United States by car. We'd stop in a small town each night, and I would explore on foot and meet other kids at the swimming pool or ice cream shop. That slow mode of travel has become my default, and I've spent years exploring back roads, small towns, and bywaters by car, bicycle, and sailboat. I write about the strangers I've found and the "candy" I've gotten from them: strangers have lessons for all of us and are not as dangerous as we've been told.

Margaret's book list on getting you talking to strangers

Margaret Meps Schulte Why did Margaret love this book?

In this novel, a pregnant teenager gets abandoned in a small town where she doesn't know anyone. She begins connecting with strangers, one at a time, studying them and deciding which ones are safe to talk to. Eventually, the main character has built a complete support network for herself and her child. I love the way author Billie Letts describes the process of talking to strangers and connecting with them until they become some of our closest friends. It's the same way I get candy from strangers in real life.

By Billie Letts,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Where the Heart Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 17-year-old pregnant girl heading for Califonia with her boyfriend finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But she's about to be helped by a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people, including a bible-thumping nun and an eccentric librarian.


Book cover of Living High: An Unconventional Autobiography

Margaret Meps Schulte Author Of Strangers Have the Best Candy

From my list on getting you talking to strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a youngster, my parents took me on 6-week journeys across the United States by car. We'd stop in a small town each night, and I would explore on foot and meet other kids at the swimming pool or ice cream shop. That slow mode of travel has become my default, and I've spent years exploring back roads, small towns, and bywaters by car, bicycle, and sailboat. I write about the strangers I've found and the "candy" I've gotten from them: strangers have lessons for all of us and are not as dangerous as we've been told.

Margaret's book list on getting you talking to strangers

Margaret Meps Schulte Why did Margaret love this book?

Sometimes, when we read history, it seems so dry and different from our own lives that it's hard to comprehend. In the 1920s and 30s, June Burn homesteaded on an island in the San Juans, lived in Alaska, and traveled across the country with a donkey cart. Yet I can envision myself in her adventurous life because her views were so much like my own. She was a feminist and a strong, brave woman who used her writing as an excuse to talk to strangers.

By June Burn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Courage, gaiety, and a fresh approach to life are reflected in this unconventional autobiography. It is a story of twentieth-century pioneers as resourceful as ever they were in the days of the old frontier. June Burn and her husband Farrar determined to go their own sweet way, enjoying first hand living and not surrendering to the routines of a workaday world. Through the years they had some high and glorious adventures, which included homesteading a gumdrop in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest, teaching Eskimos near Siberia, and exploring the United States by donkey cart with a baby…


Book cover of Into a Desert Place: A 3000 Mile Walk around the Coast of Baja California

Jennifer Silva Redmond Author Of Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

From my list on nonfiction Baja that can transport you there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on Southern California beaches—Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla—but first experienced Baja as an adult. It was like a different world. Returning repeatedly over the next decade, I came to know the stunning shorelines and quiet bays of the peninsula’s midriff as intimately as my home state’s beaches. Swimming and diving Baja’s clear blue waters and hiking its dusty trails and palm-studded mountains, I have admired the many moods of this unique desert peninsula. A writer and editor, I have read extensively from the vast selection of books about Baja, both new and classic works.

Jennifer's book list on nonfiction Baja that can transport you there

Jennifer Silva Redmond Why did Jennifer love this book?

A formerly comfort-seeking Brit takes a very difficult walk around Baja and learns a lot about himself, and of course, about this “desert place.”

What’s not for me to like in a story like that? There is adventure and struggle, but also plenty of humor, and the thread that binds it all together is the author’s dawning love for a land that became his special place.

Mackintosh is still living much of the time in Mexico and has written five more books about Baja, burros, beer, and even dogs, but this adventurous paean to the peninsula will always have a special place in my heart, because I read it when I was newly in love with Baja myself.

By Graham Mackintosh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into a Desert Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I had never been particularly good at anything except catering to my own comfort and safety," begins Graham Mackintosh with cheerful frankness in this engaging, suspenseful, and finally stirring travel adventure.

An Englishman, Mackintosh fell in love with Baja California on a visit and, despite a glaring shortage of both experience and money, determined to walk its entire coast. Into a Desert Place is his account of how he equipped himself, what he saw and learned, and how he survived on this harsh and beautiful journey. The book was first published in England and then by Mackintosh himself in the…


Book cover of Wanderers: A History of Women Walking

Kathy Elkind Author Of To Walk It Is To See It: 1 Couple, 98 Days, 1400 Miles on Europe's GR5

From my list on strong women walking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had always wanted a grand adventure and I’ve always loved reading about epic journeys. When I was a teen, I read an article in National Geographic about walking the Appalachian Trail and thought, I need to do that. I grew up in an outdoorsy family and married a man who loved the outdoors even more. But we never got to an adventure until we were empty nesters. In our late fifties we decided to walk 1400 miles from the cold North Sea to the warm Mediterranean on the legendary long-distance trail the GR5. After finishing our epic journey, I needed to share my love of European walking with others.

Kathy's book list on strong women walking

Kathy Elkind Why did Kathy love this book?

Wanderers is not a memoir. Andrews, who is a professor of literature in the UK, presents ten chapters on ten famous women writers who also walked.

I found it interesting to learn how some of the women left town before dawn to walk so that they would not be seen. Society at that time felt it was not safe for a woman to walk by herself. I was amazed at some of the distances that they walked; for example, in the early 1800s Ellen Weeton walked 35 miles in a day. 

I found the interconnection of walking to help writing and writing about walking fascinating. I will return to read this again and again. 

By Kerri Andrews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now in B-format paperback, this book describes ten women over the past three hundred years who have found walking essential to their sense of themselves, as people and as writers.
Wanderers traces their footsteps, from eighteenth-century parson's daughter Elizabeth Carter - who desired nothing more than to be taken for a vagabond in the wilds of southern England - to modern walker-writers such as Nan Shepherd and Cheryl Strayed. For each, walking was integral, whether it was rambling for miles across the Highlands, like Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, or pacing novels into being, as Virginia Woolf did around Bloomsbury.
Offering a…


Book cover of Walking Home: A Poet's Journey

Charlie Pye-Smith Author Of Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields & Foods of Modern Britain

From my list on that evoke the spirit of the British countryside.

Why am I passionate about this?

I thought I was going to be a farmer, but some serious practical experience after I finished school put paid to that idea. I then focused my attention on conservation, before turning to travel writing. All of which led, eventually, to a growing interest in development issues and how people can make a living from the land. The result is over a dozen books, some of which are narrative-driven travelogues – many based on my experiences in Africa and elsewhere; and some of which focus on the nitty-gritty of agriculture, agroforestry, and related issues. My most recent book, Land of Plenty, provided a state of the nation account of British farming during the tumultuous year (for farmers, at least) when the UK voted to leave the EU.

Charlie's book list on that evoke the spirit of the British countryside

Charlie Pye-Smith Why did Charlie love this book?

This is one of the best books I have read about a long walk – in this case, the poet laureate Simon Armitage’s account of the 19 days he spent walking the Pennine Way, beginning at its northern extremity and ending up near his home in West Yorkshire. This is not a precious, solipsistic memoir of the sort favoured by many of our celebrated New Nature Writers, but a wonderfully droll account of what was often a hard slog, where at the end of each day Armitage, who set off without any money, sings for his supper, reading poetry in village halls, pubs, barns, and other venues, and takes pot luck with whatever accommodation he is offered for the night. Walking Home provides a vivid portrait of one of our great landscapes, and the quirks of character and acts of kindness he encounters on the way.

By Simon Armitage,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The wandering poet has always been a feature of our cultural imagination. Odysseus journeys home, his famous flair for storytelling seducing friend and foe. The Romantic poets tramped all over the Lake District searching for inspiration. Now Simon Armitage, with equal parts enthusiasm and trepidation, as well as a wry humor all his own, has taken on Britain's version of our Appalachian Trail: the Pennine Way. Walking "the backbone of England" by day (accompanied by friends, family, strangers, dogs, the unpredictable English weather, and a backpack full of Mars Bars), each evening he gives a poetry reading in a different…


Book cover of Hanoi Journal, 1967

Jessica Frazier Author Of Women's Antiwar Diplomacy During the Vietnam War Era

From my list on women and the US war in Vietnam.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into researching women’s antiwar activism during the U.S. war in Vietnam by chance when I came across evidence of middle-aged American women traveling to Jakarta, Indonesia in 1965 to meet with women from North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front—the enemies of the United States at the time. Discovering that some of these same U.S. women (and many others), would later travel to Hanoi despite the United States conducting extensive bombing raids over North Vietnam, despite travel to North Vietnam being prohibited, and despite some of the women having young children at home, simply astounded me, and I had to find out more.

Jessica's book list on women and the US war in Vietnam

Jessica Frazier Why did Jessica love this book?

Carol McEldowney, a community organizer in 1967, cut her activist teeth in the student protest movement in the early 1960s as a founding member of Students for a Democratic Society. In 1967, she accepted the opportunity to attend an antiwar conference with Vietnamese diplomats, including Nguyen Thi Binh, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Following that meeting, McEldowney and six other Americans traveled on to Hanoi to find out what was happening on the ground. Her transcribed journal tells of this experience, including McEldowney’s anxieties, hopes, and doubts, and presents readers with a glimpse of life for North Vietnamese as well as a window into the questions, concerns, and perceptions of an antiwar activist.

By Carol Cohen McEldowney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hanoi Journal, 1967 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1967, Carol McEldowney, a twenty-four-year-old community organizer living in Cleveland, embarked on a remarkable journey. In a climate of growing domestic unrest and international turmoil, she traveled illegally to North Vietnam with fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to meet the enemy face-to-face. She was determined to understand the foe that had troubled America's leaders in Washington since the end of World War II. With an eye toward history and a recognition of the significance of her journey, McEldowney documented her experiences in the journal reproduced in this book. Through her words we…


Book cover of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

Gail Vida Hamburg Author Of The Edge of the World

From my list on books about surviving wars written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I feel compelled to write political works when I see an injustice, violation, corruption, or travesty that needs to be addressed. It's possibly the result of my heritage as a citizen of a British-colonized country and the child of parents from a Christian-colonized slice of a continent. As a journalist, I experienced censure and censorship by editors who wished to maintain their held beliefs about certain people, races, issues, and subjects. As a novelist, I was rejected by mainstream publishers for writing deemed too political. However, I made a commitment as a writer not to change my words to appease publishers or editors because it made them uncomfortable.   

Gail's book list on books about surviving wars written by women

Gail Vida Hamburg Why did Gail love this book?

Le Li Hayslip’s wrenching memoir traces the arc of the Vietnam War as she experienced it, first as a 12-year-old, then through her teens and twenties, and finally as an American returning to her homeland.

Her tranquil childhood in a rural village explodes into smithereens with the arrival of American troops, followed by warring between the trifecta of government, Viet Cong, and the US military. This being war, children and civilians were viewed as battleground assets and recruited as spies, agitators, and saboteurs.

Le Li was one of the recruits and suffered every imaginable horror of war except death. Her resilience as a child, teenager, and woman as she endured the seemingly unendurable and unspeakable is a testament to faith and hope in humanity. Le Li Hayslip’s body was a container and reliquary for the atrocities of the Vietnam War. That she outlived her sorrow and suffering is nothing short…

By Le Ly Hayslip, Jay Wurts,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked When Heaven and Earth Changed Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of the most important books of Vietnamese American and Vietnam War literature...Moving, powerful.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer

In these pages, Le Ly Hayslip—just twelve years old when U.S. helicopters landed in her tiny village of Ky La—shows us the Vietnam War as she lived it. Initially pressed into service by the Vietcong, Le Ly was captured and imprisoned by government forces. She found sanctuary at last with an American contractor and ultimately fled to the United States. Almost twenty years after her escape, Le Ly found herself inexorably drawn back to the devastated country…


Book cover of The Places in Between

Eyal Halfon Author Of They Were Here Before Us: Stories from Our First Million Years

From my list on traveling the world from your armchair.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I became a filmmaker and many years before I knew what pre-history meant, I was a restless traveler. I was an adventurer and a hiker, fascinated by maps and mountain peaks and constantly searching for the best place for a coffee break. In my list, I have tried to combine my passion for traveling with what is really important in life: people, friends, and travel companions.

Eyal's book list on traveling the world from your armchair

Eyal Halfon Why did Eyal love this book?

I had this book beside me while recovering from an urgent hip replacement. A guy who walked solo from Herat to Kabul in the winter of Afghanistan can be a great aid when you struggle in the stairwell.

Stewarta former MP and nowadays the host of The Rest is Politics podcastdid the job for me in his excellent book and brave walk. A few months after my operation, I hiked the Mont Blanc trail. It's nothing like Afghanistan, but I did come across some icy peaks.

By Rory Stewart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Places in Between as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

In 2001 Rory Stewart set off from Herat to walk to Kabul via the mountains of Ghor in central Afghanistan. This was to be the last leg of a 21 month walk across Asia. The country was in turmoil following the recent US invasion and the mountain passes still covered in snow. Suspicious of his motives, and worried for his safety, the authorities provided Rory with two armed guards who accompanied him, but whom he soon out-walked. Later he was given a dog, whom he named 'Babur' in honour of the great Moghul Emperor in whose footsteps the two of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in walking, the Vietnam War, and earth?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about walking, the Vietnam War, and earth.

Walking Explore 21 books about walking
The Vietnam War Explore 233 books about the Vietnam War
Earth Explore 292 books about earth