10 books like Farthest North

By Fridtjof Nansen,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Farthest North. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Endurance

By Alfred Lansing,

Book cover of Endurance

It’s the name of the book, it’s the name of the ship, and there isn’t a more accurate descriptor imageable for this horrific, and amazing story of survival. Time after time after time, just when you think something is finally going to go right for the crew of the Endurance, everything gets worse. Yet they continue on, against all conceivable odds. Lansing’s masterpiece recounts Ernest Shackleton’s well-known and ill-fated journey to Antarctica, and the multi-year survival of him and his crew. A true nonfiction thriller, you really cannot imagine what is in store for these poor men. How they made it home is truly shocking. You’ll never feel cold again.

Endurance

By Alfred Lansing,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Endurance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible…


The Perfect Storm

By Sebastian Junger,

Book cover of The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

This is one of the nonfiction books I read as a teenager that convinced me to become a professional writer. The author, Sebastian Junger, doesn’t just describe the titular storm (which hit the U.S. East Coast in 1991) in terrifying detail—he also manages to assemble all of the weather-driven chaos into a real, gripping narrative. We don’t know a lot about what actually happened to the Andrea Gail, the fishing boat at the center of the narrative, but Junger recreates its final hours in a way that feels bracingly real—and heartbreaking.

Even if you don’t like nonfiction books, The Perfect Storm has the pacing and heart of a novel. I consider it one of the finest—maybe the finest—disaster narrative ever written, and it’s a perfect choice of book if you’re trapped inside by a raging storm.

The Perfect Storm

By Sebastian Junger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Perfect Storm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high-a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm." In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control.

Winner of the American Library Association's 1998 Alex…


In the Heart of the Sea

By Nathaniel Philbrick,

Book cover of In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

A small lifeboat is spotted off the coast of Chile in 1821, below the gunnels skeletal men cling to a pile of human bones. Nathaniel Philbrick opens his National Book Award-winning story with an almost incomprehensibly brutal scene and rarely takes a breath for the remaining 300-odd pages. Considered to be the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex is the true story of a ship stove in by a whale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the harrowing survival of some of its crew. 

In the Heart of the Sea

By Nathaniel Philbrick,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked In the Heart of the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic true-life story of one of the most notorious maritime disasters of the nineteenth century - and inspiration for `Moby-Dick' - reissued to accompany a major motion picture due for release in December 2015, directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker and Cillian Murphy.

When the whaleship Essex set sail from Nantucket in 1819, the unthinkable happened. A mere speck in the vast Pacific ocean - and powerless against the forces of nature - Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale, and her twenty crewmen were forced to take to the open sea…


Adrift

By Steven Callahan,

Book cover of Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea

The waves were high, and the wind gusting, but it was nothing Steven Callahan’s little 21-foot sailboat hadn’t seen before. He had sailed her across the Atlantic once before and was aiming for the Caribbean when he bedded down for the night. He awoke to a cabin full of raging seawater and had only minutes to escape before the boat he had designed and built went to the bottom. He had an inflatable raft, a small amount of food and water, and a soaking-wet sleeping bag. Not much else. This raw first-person account of surviving alone in the middle of the ocean on a life raft reads like the transcript of the nightmare every sailor who heads out to sea has the night before leaving port. 

Adrift

By Steven Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Perfect Storm, before In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Callahan’s dramatic tale of survival at sea was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than thirty-six weeks. In some ways the model for the new wave of adventure books, Adrift is an undeniable seafaring classic, a riveting firsthand account by the only man known to have survived more than a month alone at sea, fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out. “Utterly absorbing” (Newsweek), Adrift is a must-have for any adventure library.


The Arctic Grail

By Pierre Berton,

Book cover of The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and The North Pole, 1818-1909

In the 19th century, it was believed that if a way could be found through North America’s ice barrier, beyond lay an open sea offering ships a shortcut to the Pacific.  The quest to find it became a litany of disaster, suffering, human spirit stretched to breaking point and heroic survival. Canada’s greatest historian, Pierre Burton, turns factual accounts into a riveting read, ‘a cliff-hanger with colorful characters’ as Newsweek described it. This is another book I hate to lend for fear I’ll never get it back.

The Arctic Grail

By Pierre Berton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The complete saga of the pursuit for two of the world's greates geographical prizes - the elusive Passage linking the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the North Pole. Culled from extensive research of hand-written diaries and private journal The Arctic Grail is the definitive book on the age of arctic exploration and adventure.


The Arctic

By Richard Vaughan,

Book cover of The Arctic: A History

Not only is Vaughan’s book full of history and exciting and romantic names, it is the perfect introduction to a fabulous part of the world, and a snapshot of what once was, and what might never be again, as the Arctic is subject to constant change–climatically and politically. This is another well-thumbed book of mine. It is a go-to book for facts and details. It’s not a page-turner, but more of a returner–I imagine many readers, like me, returning to this book with a query to be answered, or a historical itch to be scratched. 

The Arctic

By Richard Vaughan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Arctic surrounds the North Pole. Russia, whose shores stretch approximately half way round the northern hemisphere, takes the lion's share in the territory but the United States, Canada and Denmark have their stakes too. Those who inhabit the densely packed ice, however, remain largely unconcerned by national claims and political boundaries. Today the Arctic, neither a continent nor a nation, has become one of the last contested lands on earth. Richard Vaughan focuses on the human inhabitants of the Arctic and their struggle for existence in one of the most inhospitable areas of the world from the Stone Age…


The Last Imaginary Place

By Robert McGhee,

Book cover of The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World

This book by a distinguished Canadian archaeologist is the finest overview of the human history of the circumpolar region. Its twin concerns are the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and the impact of intruders from the south. It is unusual in its coverage of the Russian and Scandinavian Arctic. The excellent account of the Norse colonies in Greenland feeds into a compelling analysis (through the prism of trade goods) of Norse penetration into the territories of the Dorset and Thule peoples. 

The Last Imaginary Place

By Robert McGhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Imaginary Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Arctic of towering icebergs and midnight sun, of flaming auroras and endless winter nights, has long provoked flights of the imagination. Now, in "The Last Imaginary Place", renowned archaeologist, Robert McGhee lifts the veil to reveal the true Arctic world. Based on thirty years of work with native peoples of the Arctic and travel in the region, McGhee's account dispels notions of the frozen land as an exotic, remote world that exists apart from civilization. Between the frigid reality and lurid fantasy lies McGhee's true interest, the people who throughout human history have called the Arctic home. He paints…


The North Water

By Ian McGuire,

Book cover of The North Water

I am particularly drawn to stories about early adventures at sea. 

Life on a whaling ship was difficult and bred all manner of contemptible acts by the crew. When the journey was ill-fated, like the one in this book, it pointed the spotlight directly on the tainted core of ship life. 

This book introduced the greedy side of the 1800s whaling industry and told the story surrounding the doomed whaling ship and the ship’s drug-addicted surgeon. It presented the raw side of humanity and what lengths desperate men resort to in order to survive. It was shades of whaling seamen Herman Melville and John Rumell’s experiences surviving with savages. 

The story was riveting and begged the question: Who are the real savages?

The North Water

By Ian McGuire,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The North Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN NOTABLE BOOK 2016

A ship sets sail with a killer on board . . .
1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship's surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the…


Ice

By Sarah Beth Durst,

Book cover of Ice

Ice is an unexpected journey in the Arctic filled with promises, broken hearts, trolls, ice, and a Polar Bear King. It’s a brilliantly written adventure that will have you wanting more with each sentence. Have you ever thought of falling in love with prince charming? How about with a polar bear? You’ll think twice after reading this!

Ice

By Sarah Beth Durst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Cassie was little she thought her mother had been taken prisoner by trolls because of a deal she’d made with the Polar Bear King. Just a fairy tale to soothe a child whose mother had died. But on her eighteenth birthday, the “fairy tale” comes true when the Polar Bear King comes to take Cassie for his bride. Realizing she has the power to save her mother, Cassie makes her own deal with the bear and finds herself on a journey against time, traveling across the brutal Arctic to the land east of the sun and west of the…


Ice Station Zebra

By Alistair MacLean,

Book cover of Ice Station Zebra

I know an action-adventure novel by Alastair Maclean is an odd choice for someone who thrives on romantic suspense, but I have loved his books since I came upon them in the library. His words, his stories grabbed me from the first sentence. The hard part was picking which book to recommend. I have loved most of his books, but Ice Station Zebra holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in Northern Wyoming, where the winters are cold and “ice station zebra” became a catchphrase for really cold in my family. And every time I used the catchphrase, well, I had to go re-read the book again. And if it is a hot day? I promise it will make you shiver with cold.

Ice Station Zebra

By Alistair MacLean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic thriller from the bestselling master of action and suspense.

The atomic submarine Dolphin has impossible orders: to sail beneath the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean, and somehow locate and rescue the men of weather-station Zebra, gutted by fire and drifting with the ice-pack somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

But the orders do not say what the Dolphin will find if she succeeds - that the fire at Ice Station Zebra was sabotage, and that one of the survivors is a killer.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the arctic, the North Pole, and the Inuit?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the arctic, the North Pole, and the Inuit.

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The Inuit Explore 8 books about the Inuit