The best books about the Alps 📚

Browse the best books on the Alps as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of A Tramp Abroad

A Tramp Abroad

By Mark Twain

Why this book?

In a travelogue which spends much of its time in the Alps, Twain delivers anecdotes of haplessness that will make readers smile, if not laugh out loud. Twain portrays himself as an American naif who thinks he understands everything while actually understanding nothing at all.

From the list:

The best books about the Alps from a history and travel writer

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Book cover of Terror on the Mountain

Terror on the Mountain

By Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz

Why this book?

Swiss novelist Ramuz delivers a taut, engrossing tale about Alpine villagers whose decision to tempt fate ends in disaster. Ignoring the pleas of their elders, some young men take their flocks to summer in an upland mountain pasture that is reputed locally to be a cursed place. It turns out that the reputation is well earned.

From the list:

The best books about the Alps from a history and travel writer

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Book cover of First on the Rope

First on the Rope

By Roger Frison-Roche

Why this book?

France’s highest-profile contribution to Alpine fiction, Frison-Roche’s story traces the trials and joys of a family of mountaineers in Chamonix during the 1920s and 1930s. Spectacular evocations of the grandeur of Mont Blanc and the dangers of traversing the terrors of the unforgiving mountains and glaciers – it’s all here, and served up with panache.

From the list:

The best books about the Alps from a history and travel writer

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Book cover of Calculated Risk: Adventure and Romance in Scotland and the Alps

Calculated Risk: Adventure and Romance in Scotland and the Alps

By Dougal Haston

Why this book?

The sole novel left by legendary Scottish mountaineer Dougal Haston - prickly, opinionated, striking, not given to self-doubt, probably the finest all-around climber of his day. It has a great opening when an incensed young ambitious climber barrels his motorbike up the winding Loch Lubnaig road on his way to Glencoe, goes on to include a fictional version of his epic on the Eiger when the great American climber1966  John Harlin fell to his death beside him, and Haston helped rescue a stranded group of climbers and after a week-long drama finally summited the North Face. It is raw, emotional…

From the list:

The best books from the other side of the mountain

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Book cover of G.

G.

By John Berger

Why this book?

John Berger was a fantastic cultural observer and art critic, this book is erotic both in its observation of culture and context but also of human fallibility, and psychic and psychological transportation of love itself. It had a big influence on me as an art student and for the brief years when I was a sculptor. What I love about it is its empathy for both the female and male inner erotic life, although it is set in England and Europe at the end of the 19th century, Berger’s razor-sharp, succinct blending of the internal and external world is…

From the list:

The best pillow books for when familiarity sets in

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Book cover of The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919

The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919

By Mark Thompson

Why this book?

Even though Italy was one of the “victors,” its participation on the allied side was the cause of the government’s collapse, and the rise Mussolini and the fascisti, with all the calamities that followed.  This book provides a truly horrifying explanation of why that was so.

From the list:

The best books on the other fronts in WW1

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