With schools and adventures to have, summer seems to be the travel season par excellence. That you are trekking in the Valley of the Assassins In Iran or lead a mini-golf world tour, summer invites us to hit the road, the skies and the seas in search of unknown places. And we’re sure you’re looking for a book to take with you on your journey or to inspire your next one! Help, Dark Atlas has compiled this list of some of the best travel books to take on the road.
by David Grann
In the early decades of the early 20th century, the British explorer Percy Fawcett made seven trips to the Amazon rainforest. During these travels, Fawcett became increasingly obsessed with the legendary Eldorado– and convinced that he had found evidence of an ancient, glittering city that he called “Zed” or “Z”. His obsession ended in tragedy in 1924 when he walked through the forest and disappeared with the rest of the expedition. In 1925, Fawcett, still missing, was declared dead. Nearly a century later, writer David Grann set out to find out what exactly happened to Fawcett and his doomed party. Weaving together his own journeys in the AmazonGrann reflects on what drives us to explore the unknown in this classic adventure tale, one of Dark Atlas co-founder, Dylan Thura.
by Matt Goulding
Dive into Japanthe extraordinary culinary culture of in this innovative travel guide that combines history, culture and centuries-old culinary traditions. Written by one of the co-founders of Roads & Kingdomsthe book explores everything from the humble Kyoto noodle shops with Michelin stars Tokyo Restaurants. Part essay collection, part guidebook, part history lesson, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about Japanese cuisine and culture.
by Victoria Finlay
When visiting a textile exhibition in Bath, England, writer Victoria Finlay and her mother view a crimson and scarlet patchwork quilt that a widow made shortly after her husband’s death. “We should do this,” his mother whispers. A few months later, Finlay’s mother dies. Then, shortly after, his father died. What follows is a story of grief and recovery told through the secret stories of textiles, how viking The Norns used threads to tell someone’s fate the way a pattern of Indian cloth became forever linked to a Scottish town.
by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton and Cecily Wong
This box contains a wonderful double dose of inspiring adventures. Both New York Times bestsellers transport you to uncrowded corners of the world, from Shackleton’s Antarctic Hut For Turkmenistanfire crater, The gates of hellas well as unique foods and delicious culinary traditions, from UgandaIt is rolex (aka “rolled eggs”) for ColombiaIt is boiled hot dogs with pineapple salsa.
by Craig Childs
About 35,700 years agohumans crossed an unknown and uninhabited land: a bridge that connected their Siberian homeland to Alaska. When we learn about the candy in school, we are not asked to imagine the hardships these early explorers had to endure. They were walking in a dangerous country full of saber tooth catsgiant bears and sloth on the ground as big as elephants. Many would not survive. Author and nature guide Craig Childs traces the most likely routes these early human wanderers would have taken on their journey to the Americas. Weaving a personal narrative with science and history, it tells a different kind of road trip story, a story that reveals the humanity and resilience of the first peoples of North America.
by Sarah Vowell
This might very well be the funniest book about deceased presidents. Strengthened by her spirit and her historical know-how, writer and This American Life editor Sarah Vowell travels through the UNITED STATES to places of political bloodshed. She delves into the assassinations of abraham lincoln, James A. GarfieldAnd William McKinleyexposing how politics, history and tourism have capitalized on some of the country’s best-known tragedies.
by Noah Charney, with illustrations by Ivan Mitrevski
Nestled between the Julian Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia has it all, from towering snow-capped mountains to quaint coastal towns. Written by Dark Atlas course instructor And trip leader Noah Charney, Slovenian is part guide, part memory and the perfect companion to understand this little-known corner of Europe.
by Caitlin Doughty, with illustrations by Landis Blair
How do other cultures take care of their dead? That’s the guiding question behind mortician Caitlin Doughty New York Times bestselling book. Valiant, a friend of Dark Atlasexplores how different cultures respect and care for the dead, skulls who grant wishes Bolivia elaborate 12-day funeral in Indonesia.
Each article is independently selected by our editorial team. If you purchase something through our links, Atlas Obscura may earn an affiliate commission.