Top 10 travel books of the century...

Travel Forums General Talk Top 10 travel books of the century...

1. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I thought flashed across my fact two thoughts..I was curious to find out... 1) the greatest traveller(s) of the 20th century 2) the top travel book (s) of the century....and came across this during a google search:

I am sure there are many out there who have their own views...The top 10 travel books of the century:

Sedentary (writing about a place by an outsider who settles there):

1) "South from Granada," by Gerald Brenan. Young Englishman leaves home, settles in a small Andalusian village, and writes a book that takes travel writing out of its dilettante sphere and creates with it a kind of novelistic anthropology.

2) "The Last Time I Saw Paris," by Elliot Paul. This forgotten classic by an American journalist chronicles in fascinating detail the life of a small street in Paris' Latin Quarter that is a microcosm of France before the Second World War.

3) "Hunting Mister Heartbreak," by Jonathan Raban. Settling briefly in places as diverse as Manhattan, Key West, Alabama and Seattle, Raban gets to the heart and humor of America.

4) "Old Calabria," by Norman Douglas. Not a resident, but he traveled so thoroughly and knowledgeably through this southernmost region of Italy that the book resounds with authority and critical admiration.

5) "Out of Africa," by Isak Dinesen. From the first sentence - "I had a farm in Africa" -- we are drawn into another place and time.

6) "Bitter Lemons," by Lawrence Durrell. A warm and anguished tale of the tragedy of Cyprus by one of the modern Mediterranean's most eloquent rhapsodists.

7) "Beyond Euphrates," by Freya Stark. A travel autobiography by the woman who was to the Arab world what Durrell was to the Mediterranean.

8) "Down and Out in Paris and London," by George Orwell. Two gleaming capitals seen from the seedy side by a brilliant and unsentimental observer.

9) "Liebling Abroad," by A.J. Liebling. A collection by the great New Yorker writer who adopted France as his spiritual (and gustatory) home. Even with the war correspondence, you feel as if you're in the company of a jovially eccentric uncle who wears his considerable learning lightly.

10) "Two Towns in Provence," by M.F.K. Fisher. All the flavors and nuances of the region before it became synonymous with the good life.

Itinerant (writing about a place by an outsider who is just passing through):

1) "A Time of Gifts," by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Young Englishman (again) sets off on a walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople and absorbs and assimilates everything in his path: customs, wildlife, architecture, languages. ("Between the Woods and the Water" is the second volume of this unfinished trilogy.)

2) "The Road to Oxiana," by Robert Byron. The critic Paul Fussell compared this account of a journey through the Middle East with Joyce's "Ulysses" and Eliot's "The Waste Land."

3) "A Dragon Apparent," by Norman Lewis. An exhaustive tour through Indochina by one of travel writing's greatest and least recognized practitioners.

4) "In Patagonia," by Bruce Chatwin. A quirky, elliptical work that showed the artistic heights that travel writing can ascend to.

5) "An Area of Darkness," by V.S. Naipaul. A study of India by the man who brought a moral intensity to the genre.

6) [b[i]]"Behind the Wall," [/i][/b]by Colin Thubron. Thubron combines a keen intellect - he learned Mandarin before this trip to China - with an emotional depth that allows him not only to interpret but to connect.

7) "When the Going Was Good," by Evelyn Waugh. A collection of some of the funniest travel accounts ever written.

8) "Old Glory," by Jonathan Raban. Sailing down the Mississippi, Raban is as perceptive a traveler as he is subtle.

9) "Journey Without Maps," by Graham Greene. This account of a trek in West Africa incorporates memories of childhood and possesses a darkness that foreshadows Naipaul.

10) "The Great Railway Bazaar," by Paul Theroux. The rollicking train trip through Europe and Asia that demonstrated, once again, that it's not the sights, it's the people.

I have read those defined in bold italics.


now as for the greatest traveller (s)...i am lost!!!!

2. Posted by Mikey B (Respected Member 181 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I've only read "The Great Railway Bazaar," by Paul Theroux off of that list

Looks like I've got a lot of reading to do this winter!

3. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

that book inspired me a lot along with another great book "Global Soul" by Pico Iyer...does a country make the people or the people make a country ?...


4. Posted by SuperBrat (Full Member 107 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

My all time favourite is this book called "A Fortune Teller Told Me" by Tiziano Ternani.

"Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for a year, Tiziano Terzani, a vastly experienced Asia correspondent, took his first step into an unknown world. Traveling by foot, train, bus, car, and boat, and consulting soothsayers and shamans along the way, Terzani discovered as never before the complex traditions and unexpected delights of the people and lands he had been reporting on for years."
(I picked this summary up from

An absolutely brilliant book written not to impress, but to open your eyes to the what's arround you.

This was the Christmas present of choice for everyone in 1999 - thats when I read it ;)

5. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Thanks, dana. It's such a wonderful list for us to go through.