Top 10 Real-Life Adventure Stories

By Monitor, Col Bermel; | The Christian Science Monitor, July 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

Top 10 Real-Life Adventure Stories


Monitor, Col Bermel;, The Christian Science Monitor


What's the best way to enjoy the summer: A cookout in the backyard? A trip to the beach? These are nice, but look no further than reading a non-fiction adventure book. It's by far the best way to immerse yourself in another world. Check out this list to see some of the best titles in this excellent genre.

What's the best way to enjoy the summer: A cookout in the backyard? A trip to the beach? These are nice, but look no further than reading a non-fiction adventure book. It's by far the best way to immerse yourself in another world. Check out this list to see some of the best titles in this excellent genre.

#10 A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, by Andrew Chaikin

Definitely not your typical adventure novel, "Voyages" thoroughly details the successes and failures of NASA's Apollo space program, including the famous Apollo 11 mission that landed the first humans on the Moon. Author Andrew Chaikin sat down with 23 of the 24 Apollo astronauts to exhaustively chronicle their experiences in the final frontier for this spellbinding read.

#9 Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston

James Franco's acting performance in 127 Hours earned the film critical acclaim, but many don't know that this incredible story was first chronicled by Aron Ralston himself in print form. "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" of course describes Ralston's life-changing experience in having his arm pinned down by an 800-pound boulder in a canyon, but the mountaineer keeps the reader engaged by recounting his early life and describing his family's efforts to rescue him. Maps of the area and photos taken by Ralston himself during the ordeal are also included.

#8 Books of the Marvels of the World, by Marco Polo

Sometimes dubbed "the first adventure novel," "Marvels" is a collection of recorded stories told orally by Marco Polo. The Venetian merchant went virtually everywhere in the Eastern Hemisphere, and a highlight of Polo's journeys was when he was appointed to an important position in the court of Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire. Although it might seem aged and distant to modern readers, "Marvels" is truly a classic read for any hardcore adventure enthusiast.

#7 The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America's Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas, by Todd Balf

Imagine that you are a young and motivated US Navy lieutenant in the mid-1850s. Your task is to lead an expedition to find a route across the isthmus of Panama before rival British and French surveyors do - and they are just days behind your party. This proved to be no easy job for Lt. Isaac Strain, as his team spent 97 grueling days trekking through hellish jungle, facing starvation, disease, and flesh-embedding parasites. Despite the dangers Strain and his men faced, they paved the way - literally and metaphorically - for the construction of the Panama Canal.

#6 Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness, by Jeffrey Tayler

Another book set in an exotic yet dangerous jungle, "Congo" is written by journalist and veteran traveler Jeffrey Tayler, who decides to abandon his comfortable life and journey down the Congo River in a dugout canoe, inspired by the same voyage of Henry Morton Stanley, the 19th-century journalist and explorer. …

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