Great Travel Literature

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Tags: 
  • Marco Polo/The Travels
  • Christopher Columbus/Journal of the First Voyage to America
  • William Byrd II/The Secret History of the Dividing Line Betwixt North Carolina and Virginia
  • Charles Darwin/The Voyage of the Beagle
  • John Steinbeck/Travels With Charley
  • Jack Keroac/On the Road
  • William Least Heat Moon/Blue Highways
Author Comments: 

There's definitely a shift in the purpose of travel literature somewhere in the twentieth century. I suppose most areas of the world had been explored, so the focus shifts from the landscape to the explorer and his thoughts and
feelings.

Let me especially recommend Byrd's Secret History and Moon's Blue Highways. Byrd wrote an official history of his journey surveying the border between two of the colonies in the early 1700s, but his Secret History, kept in code and not published until the 1900s, detailed all his tawdry exploits during the trip that the public might not have appreciated hearing about at the time. Moon travels almost the entire U.S. over the course of a few months and discovers unforgettable stories and people along the way. Excellent.

Least Heat Moon's River-Horse is worth reading as well.

I've heard that River-Horse is good, as is another one he did that involved walking across one county in Missouri or Kansas and just tracing its history. I'd definitely like to read both at some point...

Johnny Waco

The other book is Prairy-Earth. I liked it but didn't find it as griping as the other two.

Ah, thanks for the advice. River-Horse sounds like an excellent book for this summer...

Johnny Waco