South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917 by Ernest Shackleton

Throughout history humans have yearned to know what lies around the next corner.  Explorers, adventurers and traders walked, rode and sailed their way to new lands... and nearly always wrote about it afterwards. If they failed to survive then someone else wrote about the journey for them.

The literature that emerged from these adventurous men and women has fascinated readers for generations. Even today, with every corner of the globe apparently well known to man, there is interest in the great journeys of Scott, Shackleton, Livingstone, Amundsen and their predecessors.

This selection of collectable books and journals describe some of the greatest feats of exploration stretching from the Far East to the Wild West and the peak of Mount Everest to the dark depths of the Mariana Trench.  Journey around the world without leaving the comfort of your chair.

25 Collectable Exploration Books

Voyage of the 'Discovery' by Robert Falcon Scott

Voyage of the 'Discovery'
Robert Falcon Scott

This book describes Scott’s first expedition to the South Pole. His second was ill-fated.

The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa from 1865 to his Death by David Livingston

The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa from 1865 to his Death
David Livingstone

Livingstone’s book I presume? A record of his travels and scientific work in Africa.

A Voyage to Terra Australis by Matthew Flinders

A Voyage to Terra Australis
Matthew Flinders

Flinder’s magnum opus describes his circumnavigation of the Australian continent and helped name it.

Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery by Captain James Cook

Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery
Captain James Cook

First edition of the 1955 printing of this collection of journal entries for three voyages around the Pacific.

Syria: The Desert and the Sown by Gertrude Bell

Syria: The Desert and the Sown
Gertrude Bell

Bell explored and mapped much of Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia.

Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft by Thor Heyerdahl

Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft
Thor Heyerdahl

In 1947 Heyerdahl set out to cross the Pacific on a raft made with ancient techniques and materials.

From Paris to New York by Land by Harry De Windt

From Paris to New York by Land
Harry De Windt

De Windt was an early travel writer – for this trip, he traveled to America via Siberia and Alaska. 

The Travels of Ibn Battuta by H.A.R. Gibb

The Travels of Ibn Battuta
H.A.R. Gibb

His journeys lasted for nearly 30 years and covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world.

On Ancient Central-Asian Tracks by Marc Aurel Stein

On Ancient Central-Asian Tracks
Marc Aurel Stein

Stein, a Hungarian/US archaeologist, is best known for discovering the Diamond Sutra - the world’s oldest printed text.

Sealskins for Silk: Captain Fanning's Voyage Round the World in a Brig in 1797-99 by Evelyn Cheesman

Sealskins for Silk: Captain Fanning's Voyage Round the World in a Brig in 1797-99
Evelyn Cheesman

Fanning was a successful seal trader, who discovered islands in the South Pacific.

Estevanico the Black by John Upton Terrell

Estevanico the Black
John Upton Terrell

Estevanico was a Moorish slave and thought to be the first African to set foot in mainland United States.

Portrait of an Explorer: Hiram Bingham, Discoverer of Machu Picchu by Alfred M. Bingham

Portrait of an Explorer: Hiram Bingham, Discoverer of Machu Picchu
Alfred M. Bingham

Hiram Bingham, a US senator, rediscovered Machu Picchu and this biography was written by his son.

In An Unknown Land by Thomas Gann

In An Unknown Land
Thomas Gann

Gann spent years traveling though the Yucatán Peninsula and Central America discovering Mayan ruins.

Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian War of 1851 by Lafayette Bunnell

Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian War of 1851
Lafayette Bunnell

In 1851, Bunnell became one of the first white men to visit Yosemite Valley.

History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis & Clark by Meriweather Lewis & William Clark

History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis & Clark
Meriweather Lewis & William Clark

The first coast-to-coast expedition of the United States and a journey of incredible hardship.

The North Pole by Robert Peary

The North Pole
Robert Peary

An American explorer, Peary claimed to have been the first person to reach the geographic North Pole.

The South Pole by Roald Amundsen

The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram", 1910-1912
Roald Amundsen

Amundsen was a Norwegian Polar explorer and the first to traverse the infamous Northwest Passage.

Henry Hudson by Llewelyn Powys

Henry Hudson
Llewelyn Powys

Henry was an English sea explorer who, while looking for the Northwest Passage, discovered Hudson Bay.

South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917 by Ernest Shackleton

South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914 -1917
Ernest Shackleton

The story of Ernest Shackleton’s failed attempt to be the first to cross the Antartic from sea-to-sea.

Living Dangerously by Ranulph Fiennes

Living Dangerously
Ranulph Fiennes

The 1987 autobiography of the man who has walked to both Poles and climbed Mount Everest.

Jacques Cousteau's Calypso by Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau's Calypso
Jacques Cousteau

One of the most prolific explorers of the ocean, this book details Cousteau and his amazing boat.

Seven Miles Down: The Story of the Bathyscaph 'Trieste' by Jacques Piccard

Seven Miles Down: The Story of the Bathyscaph 'Trieste'
Jacques Piccard

Jacques co-developed a submersible vessel used to send Cousteau to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

High Adventure by Edmund Hillary

High Adventure
Edmund Hillary

This is Hillary's definitive memoir on his quest to be the first man to climb Everest.

Around the World in 20 Days by Bertrand Piccard

Around the World in 20 Days
Bertrand Piccard

Son of Jacques Piccard, Bertrand carried on the family tradition by ballooning around the globe.

Men from Earth by Buzz Aldrin

Men From Earth
Buzz Aldrin

Aldrin, second man on the Moon, interweaves the stories of the US and Soviet Lunar efforts.

More to Discover


Survival Stories

Millions of Secondhand Books for sale on AbeBooks

Huge discounts on brand new books in our Best Buys Room

Faber and Faber Publishing