National Geographic Names 100 All-Time Best Adventure Books

National Geographic News
June 25, 2001

National Geographic's Adventure magazine has compiled a ranked list of books judged by a literary panel as the 100 greatest adventure books of all time.

The complete list will be published in the July/August issue of Adventure magazine, which is due on newstands July 3.

Throughout the month of July, Barnes & Noble will showcase the books in the selection, "Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time," in its hundreds of bookstores throughout the United States.

The titles in the list represent true stories of exploration, survival, and daring adventures. Topping the list is The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard.

First published in 1922, the book describes the author's first-hand view of the harrowing Scott expedition to the South Pole in which a journey of scientific discovery went disastrously wrong. Cherry-Garrard was the youngest member of Scott's team and helped recover the frozen bodies of Scott and several other companions.

He wrote the book based on his own recollections as well as passages from the diaries of other members of the expedition. The introduction to a 1944 British edition described the book as a beautifully written account of "courage, misery, starvation, heroism, exploration, discovery, and friendship," adding: "It is a record of the coldest darkest days that can be found on our planet."

Also among the top ten books on the list are, by order of ranking: Journals by U.S. explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (1814); Wind, Sand & Stars by French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupry (1940); Exploration of the Colorado River by John Wesley Powell (1895); Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger (1959); Annapurna by Maurice Herzog (1952); Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (1968); West with the Night by Beryl Markham (1942); Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997); amd Travels by Marco Polo (1298).

The last title in the list was the basis for a serialized magazine article by National Geographic assistant editor Mike Edwards, who retraced Marco Polo's 24-year journey to exotic lands. The article is featured in the May through July issues of the magazine.

Adventure's list of travel classics was chosen by a panel of writers, literary critics, and other experts. Guided by Anthony Brandt, the book critic for Adventure, the group considered candidate titles for the list based on not only each book's literary merit but also its "adrenaline factor" and its importance in our history or culture.

Adventure, targeted to active and adventurous readers, was launched in spring 1999 by the National Geographic Society as an extension of its mission to promote exploration and discovery. Published six times a year, the magazine is available by subscription and on newsstands in the United States and Canada.

Barnes & Noble, Inc., is the world's largest bookseller. It operates 568 Barnes & Noble and 335 B. Dalton bookstores, which provide access to more than a million titles.

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