World Hum’s Top 30 Travel Books

Travel Books: We recently counted down the best travel books of all time. Here's the entire list -- and loads of picks from World Hum readers.

06.25.06 | 7:00 PM ET

travel books collageMay 2006 marked World Hum’s five-year anniversary. To celebrate, we asked some of our favorite writers and contributors to help us come up with the top literary travel books of all time—the kind of books that transcend travelogues, that inspire distant wanderings, that change lives. Each day we posted one travel book, complete with excerpts and commentary. Here’s the final list. To read our commentary on a particular book, click its title below:

  • No. 1: “Arabian Sands” by Wilfred Thesiger

  • No. 2: “The Road to Oxiana” by Robert Byron

  • No. 3: “The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux

  • No. 4: “The Soccer War” by Ryszard Kapuściński

  • No. 5: “No Mercy” by Redmond O’Hanlon

  • No. 6: “North of South” by Shiva Naipaul

  • No. 7: “Golden Earth” by Norman Lewis

  • No. 8: “Video Night in Kathmandu” by Pico Iyer

  • No. 9: “The Innocents Abroad” by Mark Twain

  • No. 10: “In A Sunburned Country” by Bill Bryson

  • No. 11: “The Snow Leopard” by Peter Matthiessen

  • No. 12: “The Songlines” by Bruce Chatwin

  • No. 13: “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck

  • No. 14: “Riding to the Tigris” by Freya Stark

  • No. 15: “Europe, Europe” by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

  • No. 16: “City of Djinns” by William Dalrymple

  • No. 17: “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” by Eric Newby

  • No. 18: “All the Wrong Places” by James Fenton

  • No. 19: “Hunting Mister Heartbreak” by Jonathan Raban

  • No. 20: “River Town” by Peter Hessler

  • No. 21: “Road Fever” by Tim Cahill

  • No. 22: “When the Going was Good” by Evelyn Waugh

  • No. 23: “Behind the Wall” by Colin Thubron

  • No. 24: “Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere” by Jan Morris

  • No. 25: “A Time of Gifts” by Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • No. 26: “Baghdad Without a Map” by Tony Horwitz

  • No. 27: “The Size of the World” by Jeff Greenwald

  • No. 28: “Facing the Congo” by Jeffrey Tayler

  • No. 29: “Venture to the Interior” by Laurens van der Post

  • No. 30: “A Turn in the South” by V.S. Naipaul

    These books inspired a lot of readers—and a lot of debate. Writers like Pico Iyer has weighed in. Read everyone’s comments and the entire list, and be sure to let us know your favorite.

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