5 captivating real-life adventure stories


If you like real-life adventure stories, here are five paperback books you want to be sure to slip in your vacation bag this summer.

1. The river of doubt, by Candice Millard (Ancre, 432 pp., $ 15). In 1912, after a humiliating defeat in his third presidential candidacy, Theodore Roosevelt attempted to distract himself with a reckless trip down an unmarked Brazilian river. This stranger-than-fiction story, reinforced by “the eerie silence of the rainforest”, is the kind of story readers may “feel compelled to devour in one sitting.” (MSC review 10/11/05)

2. At the bottom of the Nile, by Rosemary Mahoney (Back Bay Books, 304 pages, $ 14.99). Author and adventurer Rosemary Mahoney’s plan to “buy a small Egyptian rowboat and row myself” – a woman alone – “along the 120 mile stretch of river between the cities of Aswan and Qena” may seem misguided, but “Mahoney’s keen intelligence … keen eyes … and a slightly astringent voice” make her an excellent narrator and a worthy travel companion. (examination of the CSM 08/28/07)

3. Manhunt, by James L. Swanson (Harper Perennial, 496 pp., $ 15.95). James L. Swanson’s story of the 12-day search for Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, through the marshes of Maryland and Virginia “is fascinating because of its pace – and because its changing scenes and characters are juggled with sure hands ”. (CSM review 02/17/06)

4. The Lost City of Z, by David Grann (Vintage, 448 pp., $ 15.95). It was 1925 and the press was enraged with impatience: the mighty British explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett plunged into the Amazon in search of a golden treasure city known only as Z. But Fawcett and his group never returned. . This “captivating” book “swings between a biographical portrait of the almost mythical figure of Fawcett and [Grann’s] own modern attempt to reconstruct the ill-fated expedition. (CSM exam 25/02/09)

5. Intermediate places, by Rory Stewart (Mariner Books, 297 pages, $ 14.95). Scottish diplomat and scholar Rory Stewart crossed Afghanistan on foot in the winter of 2002. He was alone most of the time, although the company of a large dog was one of the many pleasures of the trip.[i]“Smart, engaging and uplifting account”. (CSM reader recommendation 29/05/2008)

Marjorie Kehe is the editor of The Monitor book.

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