10 books like The Places in Between

By Rory Stewart,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Places in Between. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Lost City of Z

By David Grann,

Book cover of The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

Stephen Haddelsey Author Of Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

From the list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys.

Who am I?

Although I’m fascinated by the history of exploration, I’m most attracted to the stories that have been lost, neglected, or forgotten. Why, for instance, is Sir Vivian Fuchs – arguably the most successful British Antarctic explorer of the twentieth century – not as well-known as Scott or Shackleton? Why do we know so little of Operation Tabarin – the only wartime Antarctic expedition to be launched by a combatant nation? These are the kind of questions that I want to answer, and these are the expeditions that I have wanted to examine. I’ve been fortunate to meet and interview some truly extraordinary men – and telling their stories has been a joy and a privilege.  

Stephen's book list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys

Discover why each book is one of Stephen's favorite books.

Why did Stephen love this book?

I first came across Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett when researching Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton. In 1911, Fawcett and Bickerton crossed the Atlantic together; Fawcett to continue his work with the Bolivian Boundary Survey and Bickerton to hunt for lost pirate treasure. I thought Fawcett might make an interesting subject for a biography: an Englishman who undertook multiple expeditions into South America and who would eventually disappear altogether in the Amazon in 1925. What David Grann has achieved in The Lost City of Z is very different from a standard biography: yes, he tells Fawcett’s life story, but he also shares the ins and outs of his own search for Fawcett, and eventually sets off in pursuit of the lost city that so obsessed him. The result is a complex, multi-layered, and utterly riveting adventure story. 

The Lost City of Z

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**NOW A MAJOR FILM STARRING ROBERT PATTINSON, CHARLIE HUNNAM AND SIENNA MILLER**

'A riveting, exciting and thoroughly compelling tale of adventure'JOHN GRISHAM

The story of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, the inspiration behind Conan Doyle's The Lost World

Fawcett was among the last of a legendary breed of British explorers. For years he explored the Amazon and came to believe that its jungle concealed a large, complex civilization, like El Dorado. Obsessed with its discovery, he christened it the City of Z. In 1925, Fawcett headed into the wilderness with his son Jack, vowing to make history. They vanished without a…


Libyan Sands

By Ralph A. Bagnold,

Book cover of Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World

Stephen Haddelsey Author Of Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

From the list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys.

Who am I?

Although I’m fascinated by the history of exploration, I’m most attracted to the stories that have been lost, neglected, or forgotten. Why, for instance, is Sir Vivian Fuchs – arguably the most successful British Antarctic explorer of the twentieth century – not as well-known as Scott or Shackleton? Why do we know so little of Operation Tabarin – the only wartime Antarctic expedition to be launched by a combatant nation? These are the kind of questions that I want to answer, and these are the expeditions that I have wanted to examine. I’ve been fortunate to meet and interview some truly extraordinary men – and telling their stories has been a joy and a privilege.  

Stephen's book list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys

Discover why each book is one of Stephen's favorite books.

Why did Stephen love this book?

Libyan Sands tells the story of Ralph Bagnold’s extraordinary expeditions into the North African deserts between the two world wars. Remarkably for the time, Bagnold chose to use not camels, as his predecessors had done, but specially-adapted Ford Model-A motorcars, in which he covered tens of thousands of miles in extraordinarily inhospitable, waterless conditions, travelling where no motor vehicle and hardly any people had ever been before. The knowledge he accrued would lead him, ultimately, to found and lead the Long Range Desert Group in the Second World War. 

Having written about extraordinary journeys into the polar wastes, and having come to understand, through meeting many of the explorers involved, what it is that has driven them into those wildernesses, what most caught my imagination in Bagnold’s book was his incredibly vivid descriptions of the desert, a barren wilderness that he grew not only to respect, but to love deeply:…

Libyan Sands

By Ralph A. Bagnold,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Libyan Sands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Libyan Sands" is unmistakably the work of an Englishman, a modest, machine- and desert-loving young officer whose passionate amateur enthusiasm led to the exploration of the Egyptian western desert and the Libyan Sahara on the eve of the second world war.


Nimrod

By Beau Riffenburgh,

Book cover of Nimrod: Ernest Shackleton and the Extraordinary Story of the 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition

Stephen Haddelsey Author Of Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

From the list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys.

Who am I?

Although I’m fascinated by the history of exploration, I’m most attracted to the stories that have been lost, neglected, or forgotten. Why, for instance, is Sir Vivian Fuchs – arguably the most successful British Antarctic explorer of the twentieth century – not as well-known as Scott or Shackleton? Why do we know so little of Operation Tabarin – the only wartime Antarctic expedition to be launched by a combatant nation? These are the kind of questions that I want to answer, and these are the expeditions that I have wanted to examine. I’ve been fortunate to meet and interview some truly extraordinary men – and telling their stories has been a joy and a privilege.  

Stephen's book list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys

Discover why each book is one of Stephen's favorite books.

Why did Stephen love this book?

Ernest Shackleton is now best known for the heroic failure that was his Endurance Expedition of 1914-17. But the skills that he displayed to such effect on that expedition were honed during his leadership of the British Antarctic (or Nimrod) Expedition of 1907-09 – an expedition with the conquest of the South Pole as its primary objective. Of course, in the final assessment, this expedition failed as well – because Shackleton turned for home when just 97.5 nautical miles from his objective, knowing that his team would die if he didn’t. Beau Riffenburgh’s account of this much less well-known expedition is masterly: meticulously researched and beautifully written; a joy to read. 

Nimrod

By Beau Riffenburgh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On New Year's Day 1908, the ship Nimrod set off for the mysterious regions of the Antarctic. The leader of the small expedition was Ernest Shackleton who, in the next year and a quarter would record some of the greatest achievements of his career and would then, together with his companions, return home as a hero. Shackleton and his party battled against extreme cold, hunger, danger and psychological trauma in their attempt to reach the South Pole and to return alive. They climbed the active volcano of Mount Erebus, planted the Union Jack at the previously unattained South Magnetic Pole,…


Book cover of Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet

Stephen Haddelsey Author Of Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

From the list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys.

Who am I?

Although I’m fascinated by the history of exploration, I’m most attracted to the stories that have been lost, neglected, or forgotten. Why, for instance, is Sir Vivian Fuchs – arguably the most successful British Antarctic explorer of the twentieth century – not as well-known as Scott or Shackleton? Why do we know so little of Operation Tabarin – the only wartime Antarctic expedition to be launched by a combatant nation? These are the kind of questions that I want to answer, and these are the expeditions that I have wanted to examine. I’ve been fortunate to meet and interview some truly extraordinary men – and telling their stories has been a joy and a privilege.  

Stephen's book list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys

Discover why each book is one of Stephen's favorite books.

Why did Stephen love this book?

This book doesn’t tell the story of one expedition, it recounts many, launched by men of nine different nationalities, all intent on breaking into the closed world of Tibet. I am not alone in considering Hopkirk to be one of the great masters of what might be described as ‘historical travel’ books, and this is surely one of his best. Populated by a wonderful cast of characters, all determined to be the first westerner to reach the sacred, and forbidden, city of Lhasa. I can’t recommend it highly enough – and, enjoy one of Hopkirk’s books, and you’ll enjoy them all.  

Trespassers on the Roof of the World

By Peter Hopkirk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trespassers on the Roof of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nineteenth-century adventures, Tibet was the prize destination, and Lhasa, its capital situated nearly three miles above sea level, was the grandest trophy of all. The lure of this mysterious land, and its strategic importance, made it inevitable that despite the Tibetans' reluctance to end their isolation, determined travelers from Victorian Britain, Czarist Russia, America, and a half dozen other countries world try to breach the country's high walls.

In this riveting narrative, Peter Hopkirk turns his storytelling skills on the fortune hunters, mystics, mountaineers, and missionaries who tried storming the roof of the world. He also examines how China…


The Bookseller of Kabul

By Åsne Seierstad,

Book cover of The Bookseller of Kabul

Grant Lock Author Of Shoot Me First: A Cattleman in Taliban Country. Twenty-Four Years in the Hotspots of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From the list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban.

Who am I?

To stop us from reopening a school for girls, a mob of angry and well-armed Pashtun men threatened to shoot my workers. I surprised myself. “If you are going to shoot my workmen, you will have to shoot me first!” My wife, Janna, and I bred cattle in outback Australia. On the weekends we played tennis. Yet, in 1984 we began a twenty-four-year adventure battling corruption, injustice, and disadvantage in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I dug wells, built schools, and helped restore the eyesight of thousands of Afghans; until I myself became blind.

Grant's book list on Afghanistan and life in the land of the Taliban

Discover why each book is one of Grant's favorite books.

Why did Grant love this book?

The widows of Kabul called my wife “Frishta” (Angel). Janna loved working with them and she loves this book. Åsne Seierstad writes about the experiences of Afghan women and their prospects, marriages, hopes, and fears. Seierstad lived with a family dominated by a patriarch who loved books; for which the Taliban, also had a—literally—burning passion.

The Bookseller of Kabul

By Åsne Seierstad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller. The Bookseller of Kabul is startling in its intimacy and its details - a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today's Afghanistan.


Faery Tale

By Signe Pike,

Book cover of Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

K.T. Anglehart Author Of The Wise One

From the list on making magic feel just within reach.

Who am I?

Since reading the Harry Potter series (I know, how original! But bear with me), I’d been searching for books that awoke the same feelings of awe, curiosity, and inspiration in me. It’s been my mission—to be on the dramatic side—to find books that make magic feel just within reach of our world, which is why I set out to write my own urban fantasy story, The Wise One. My creation process involved years of extensive research on esoteric topics and Celtic folklore, including visiting most of my story’s locations during my travels across Ireland and Scotland. What I can boldly say after immersing myself in the landscape and culture is this: magic totally does exist. 

K.T.'s book list on making magic feel just within reach

Discover why each book is one of K.T.'s favorite books.

Why did K.T. love this book?

When I was recommended this book, I was in the midst of my own journey of self-discovery, like the author was in writing it. I was just starting to embrace who I wanted to be: someone who could open people’s imaginations to the magic that is already all around us. Faery Tale is the story that prompted me to book that trip to Ireland and Scotland and experience the mysticism of the lands for myself. I’m not a memoir enthusiast normally, but Pike’s (at first) skeptical POV,  detailed research into Celtic folklore, and real-life magical encounters inspired much of my debut novel. 

Faery Tale

By Signe Pike,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In search of something to believe in once more, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey - literally. In a sweeping tour of Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites and local pubs, seeking people who might still believe in the elusive beings we call faeries. As Pike attempts to connect with the spirit world - and reconnect with her sense of wonder and purpose - she comes to view both herself and the world around her in a profoundly new light.

Captivating,…


Flaubert in Egypt

By Gustave Flaubert, Francis Steegmuller (translator),

Book cover of Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour

Rosemary Mahoney Author Of Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff

From the list on floating down the Nile.

Who am I?

When author Rosemary Mahoney took a solo trip on the Egyptian Nile in a seven-foot rowboat, she discovered modern Egypt for herself. As a female, she confronted deeply-held beliefs about foreign women while cautiously remaining open to genuine friendships; as a traveler, she had experiences that ranged from the humorous to the hair-raising--including an encounter that began as one of the most frightening of her life and ended as a chastening lesson in cultural misunderstanding.  Whether she's meeting contemporary Egyptians or finding connections to Westerners who traveled the Nile long ago, Mahoney's informed curiosity about Egypt never ceases to captivate the reader.

Rosemary's book list on floating down the Nile

Discover why each book is one of Rosemary's favorite books.

Why did Rosemary love this book?

In November 1849, Gustave Flaubert and his friend Maxime du Camp hired a boat and crew in Alexandria, Egypt and set off on a three-month trip up the Nile. At that time a trip on the Nile was still an extremely unusual and exotic adventure for Europeans. This book comprises Flaubert's letters to his mother and his friends back home in France. Flaubert was a man who deeply disliked his own country, had a longtime love of things oriental, was interested in the baser aspects of humanity, and was capable of writing to in a letter to a friend that women generally confused their cunts (his word) for their brains and thought the moon existed solely to light their boudoirs. 

You'll find here Flaubert's amusing descriptions of Egypt's bazaars, temples, and people, as well as his graphic and honest (possibly even exaggerated) descriptions of his sexual experiences in Egypt's numerous…

Flaubert in Egypt

By Gustave Flaubert, Francis Steegmuller (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At once a classic of travel literature and a penetrating portrait of a "sensibility on tour," Flaubert in Egypt wonderfully captures the young writer's impressions during his 1849 voyages. Using diaries, letters, travel notes, and the evidence of Flaubert's traveling companion, Maxime Du Camp, Francis Steegmuller reconstructs his journey through the bazaars and brothels of Cairo and down the Nile to the Red Sea.


The Pharaoh's Shadow

By Anthony Sattin,

Book cover of The Pharaoh's Shadow: Travels in Ancient and Modern Egypt

Chris Naunton Author Of Egyptologists' Notebooks: The Golden Age of Nile Exploration in Words, Pictures, Plans, and Letters

From the list on history, archaeology, people, and places.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by history and the sense of place. That has led to a career in Egyptology, but I’ve come to realise that that fascination has been a part of my other interests whether it be Arsenal Football Club, rock music, or cycle touring. I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot in recent years. My horizons have broadened, and I’ve come to appreciate the natural environment and man’s place in it more and more. None of the books on my list were chosen because of this – I read them because I thought I would enjoy them, but there’s a common theme linking them all – places, people, interactions.

Chris' book list on history, archaeology, people, and places

Discover why each book is one of Chris' favorite books.

Why did Chris love this book?

Egyptology is a strange subject in that, even though you wouldn’t know it from the name, it really only concerns one aspect of Egypt – its ancient past – and it’s quite possible to develop an expertise in the field without having any familiarity with Egypt of the present day. One might become an expert in reading the hieroglyphic script, or in distinguishing an Old Kingdom statue from one sculpted in the New Kingdom, all without ever even visiting Egypt itself. Although this is an unintended consequence, it does rather foster the false idea that ancient Egypt is entirely unconnected from modern Egypt. But while more than a thousand years have passed since anyone worshipped the ancient gods or wrote anything in the ancient script, the two are very much connected of course – the natural environment, the land, and the climate are essentially unchanged, the modern people are the…

The Pharaoh's Shadow

By Anthony Sattin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a ruined temple along the Nile, Anthony Sattin sees a woman praying to the gods of ancient Egypt to bless her with a child. Later that day, a policeman stops his taxi to ask to borrow a mobile phone to call his mother. The ancient rubs up against the modern just as dramatically as when Flaubert wrote, 'Egypt is a wonderful place for contrasts - splendid things gleam in the dust". Anthony Sattin has tracked down extraordinary examples of ancient survivals in the hurly-burly of modern Egypt.


Book cover of The Shark and the Albatross: A Wildlife Filmmaker Reveals Why Nature Matters to Us All

Jane Wilson-Howarth Author Of A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: A Journey of Love and Loss in the Himalayas

From the list on enjoying wildlife when travelling.

Who am I?

I put my hand where I couldn’t see it and was repaid for my foolishness by a scorpion sting. I was the doctor on an expedition to Madagascar and my friends thought their doctor was going to die. I was already fascinated with the ways animals interact with humans and this incident brought such reactions into sharp focus. Working as a physician in England, Nepal, and elsewhere, I’ve collected stories about ‘creepy crawlies’, parasites, and chance meetings between people and wildlife. Weird, wonderful creatures and wild places have always been my sources of solace and distraction from the challenging life of a working doctor and watching animals has taught me how to reassure and work with scared paediatric patients.

Jane's book list on enjoying wildlife when travelling

Discover why each book is one of Jane's favorite books.

Why did Jane love this book?

In some travel writing, animals may be mentioned only in passing and are poorly observed, not so in this superbly written, sumptuous book. It is rich with icy imagery or steamy tropical atmosphere but there is humour, and how impressive that this successful wildlife cameraman and talented writer is so self-effacing. He seriously underplays the risks he faces, like his instructions if bitten by a seal on Bird Island: ‘Clean out the wound as much as you can with a scrubbing brush… and hope it is nowhere important… if it is really bad we’d have to radio for a ship to come and get you, but that could take weeks.’

Brilliant from beginning to end. I was totally immersed.

The Shark and the Albatross

By John Aitchison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For twenty years John Aitchison has been traveling the world to film wildlife for a variety of international TV shows, taking him to far-away places on every continent. The Shark and the Albatross is the story of these journeys of discovery, of his encounters with animals and occasional enterprising individuals in remote and sometimes dangerous places. His destinations include the far north and the far south, from Svalbard, Alaska, the remote Atlantic island of South Georgia, and the Antarctic, to the wild places of India, China, and the United States. In all he finds and describes key moments in the…


Danube

By Claudio Magris, Patrick Creagh (translator),

Book cover of Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea

Andy Merrills Author Of The Vandals

From the list on thinking about history in a different way.

Who am I?

Andy Merrills teaches ancient and medieval history at the University of Leicester. He is a hopeless book addict, writes occasionally for work and for the whimsical periodical Slightly Foxed, and likes nothing so much as reading elegantly-composed works which completely change the way he thinks about everything. (This happens quite a lot). 

Andy's book list on thinking about history in a different way

Discover why each book is one of Andy's favorite books.

Why did Andy love this book?

On the face of it, this seems like a straightforward book. Magris traces the geography of the Danube from Furtwangen or Donauschingen in southern Germany to the Black Sea, and in so doing surveys the history of the regions through which it passes. That would be a bold enough project in its own right, but the book itself is so much more than this and is one that I’ve returned to many times since I first stumbled across it fifteen years ago. The riverine structure of the book sweeps the reader from prehistory to the twentieth century and back again, individual eddies linger on intriguing episodes – the building of the cathedral tower at Ulm, the significance of the Iron Gates – and then we’re off again on another evocative description of the river or aside on the forgotten history of Mitteleuropa. A terrific read.

Danube

By Claudio Magris, Patrick Creagh (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A journey along this famous river described by the author, Claudio Magris, who unravels the amazing history of the many towns along its banks.


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