193 Incredible Travel Books – Counting Countries

193 Incredible Travel Books Counting Countries.  The UN states that there are 193 countries in the world.  I am on a quest to travel to every country in the world.  You can see where I have been so far.  An important part of travel for me is reading.  I try to read one book (sometimes two if I am lucky) pertaining to each country I visit.  Reading a book can provide so much more context to your travels.

During my first visit to Russia, I read Peter The Great, a fantastic biography of this historical leader.  When I visited St. Petersburg, the city came alive as I continually referenced his biography.

And yes, this list is not literally a list of 193 books, but an ongoing series of great books I have read that have enriched my travels.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Click here to see
193 Incredible Travel Books Counting Countries
from Afghanistan to Gabon.

Click here to see
193 Incredible Travel Books Counting Countries
from Nicaragua to Zimbabwe.

Gambia

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Stalin one of history’s most reviled characters was born in Georgia (the country, not the state) in the late 19th century. Before becoming the leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin was trained as a priest, became a revolutionary, and reveled in being a bank robber in Tbilisi. Stalin takes a long and winding path before ending up in Moscow.

rise and fall of the third reich

Unfortunately, when you mention Germany one of your first thoughts might be its horrific reign under Hitler.  Well, this book traces Hitler’s meteroic rise to an evil demagogue who shakes very the security if the entire world.  This book reads more like a text book than a novel, but you will have a very comprehensive understanding of the Third Reich.

This highly readable novel traces some families in Ghana and the US over several centuries and the brutal and horrific impact of slavery. Read this book to feel the impact when visiting the Cape Coast Castle.

Greece

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Grenada

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

This is an incredible account of two adventurers with a passion for exploration. Rumors of ancient ruins had been circulating in the western world. The two set off from NYC in 1839 to discover the lost Mayan civilizations throughout Central America. These two encountered unbelievable challenges from debilitating sickness, inclement weather, and avoiding the violence of war. Despite these obstacles, Stephens and Catherwood made amazing discoveries on behalf of all mankind.

Guinea

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Guinea-Bissau

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Guyana

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Haiti

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Honduras

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

What are the odds that a third string professional hockey player and part time Transylvanian pelt smuggler would become one of the most wanted criminals in all of Europe? Get lost as you watch anti-hero, Attila, transition from the hardest working goalie to gentlemen bank robber. Your visit to Budapest will not be the same after you read this book. It is near impossible to believe that this is a true story.

Iceland

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

This book will either unnerve you from any future travels to India or inspire you to board the next plane to the subcontinent to absorb the incredible mosaics and layers of this country. This mostly fiction but somewhat based on the author’s life takes place in Bombay in the 1980s. This nearly 1000 page tomb will consume you whole. The book will have you craving for the long promised sequel.

This is the long anticipated sequel to Shantaram, maybe my favorite travel book of all time. While this book does not equal the magic of the original, it is still a worthy peer. This book continues with the protagonist answering some of the dangling questions from the original.  Fans will be happy to read this book.

Indonesia is a sprawling nation comprised of over 13,000 islands. Suharto ruled the nation for 31 years starting in 1967. The author, foreign correspondent, Richard Lloyd Parry, chronicles the unraveling of the nation. He describes the violence that touched the nation for several years until some stability gains hold.

The US and Iran have a difficult relationship, and that is a mild understatement. The CIA engineered a coup of the democratically elected prime minister. This set the table for generations of hostility from the American hostage crisis, to the rise of the Ayatollah, to the current hostility between Iran and the US today. Sit back and take this in before any visit to Iran.

The largest group of people in the world without their own sovereign state are the Kurds found in the middle east. The Kurds of Iraq, I have created their own de facto state in northern Iraq called Kurdistan. The Kurds have created a successful state with economic growth and stability despite the previous threats from Saddam Hussein, ISIS, and the national government.

Ireland

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

193 incredible travel books

Six Day War squared off Israel against the Arab World, in this short and decisive victory for Israel.  The effects of this war rippled on for deceased reshaping the Middle East. Read this book to get an understanding of the complexities of the Middle East.

Today, Venice embodies the magnificence of a living museum. And this book traces Venice’s rise as a merchant superpower and race to incredible wealth. Read this book, how Venice transitions from a swampy refuge to a powerful city-state for 1000 years.

Ivory Coast

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Jamaica

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

File this under non-fiction that reads better than a novel. The focus of this book is WWII veteran Nick Zappetti, who remains in Tokyo after Japan’s surrender when the country was in near collapse with rampant poverty and lack of food. Zappetti opens a restaurant, which is the gateway for his next incarnation to become both a gangster and a millionaire. This book traces his rise as well as Japans in the post WWII environment.

This book hits its mark twice. First for its fish-out-of-water theme. American journalist moves to Japan learns the language, adopts the culture, and becomes the first reporter to be admitted to the elite Metropolitan Police Press Club. Second, this book is an excellent thrillers as the reporter tackles extortion, murder, and of course the Yakuza. A great read!

Jordan

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

You can debate whether to place this book under Kazakhstan or Russia. Starman is the story of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Gagarin blasted off into space in 1961 from the Russian space port at Baikonur which is located in current day Kazakhstan. Gagarin stunned and fascinated the world with his accomplishment.

I was expecting a dry text book read of Kazakhstan’s history. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to read the account of this giant, landlocked country. It traces its history of nomadic people on the steppes, to Russian interference, to its incorporation into the Soviet Union, and finally its independence.

Kenya

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Kiribati

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Kuwait

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Another country that was born into existence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kyrgyzstan is also landlocked and populated by people with nomadic roots and love of the horse. This account focuses on the post Soviet history with a book that reads like a novel. Too-good to be true characters jump of the page in twisting plots.

covert ops laos

Everyone is familiar with the Vietnam War, but that war had consequences for the entire region, especially for Laos.  The CIA teamed up with Thai mercenaries and native Hmong tribal people to bring the fight to the VC in Laos with unintended consequences that are still being felt today.

193 incredible travel books

These three Baltic countries were independent before WWII, but were incorporated into the Soviet Union against their will after the war.  This book details the machinations of 1991, when the people of these three countries finally were able to declare independence from the Soviet Union.

from beirut to jerusalem

One of the most complicated and frustrating regions in the world when it comes to politics.  Thomas Friedman with his sharp insights breaks down the region and its rivalries.  A must-read when visiting the region.

Lesotho

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Liberia

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Libya

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Liechtenstein

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

193 incredible travel books

These three Baltic countries were independent before WWII, but were incorporated into the Soviet Union against their will after the war.  This book details the machinations of 1991, when the people of these three countries finally were able to declare independence from the Soviet Union.

Luxembourg

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Macedonia

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Madagascar

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Malawi

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Malaysia

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

People all know the Maldives from their over-the-top water villas and dream like sunsets. But this book overviews the country’s interesting history. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there are over 1200 islands with 200 inhabited by the locals and 100 developed with high end resorts. The writer travels the islands with a present day account and touching on the island’s history.

People all know the Maldives from their over-the-top water villas and dream like sunsets. But this book overviews the country’s interesting history. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there are over 1200 islands with 200 inhabited by the locals and 100 developed with high end resorts. The writer travels the islands with a present day account and touching on the island’s history.

Malta

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Marshall Islands

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

This is one of those real world quests, that read better than any novel. The author, Michael Asher and his wife attempt to cross the Sahara, over 4000 km on camels. The protagonists fight the incredibly harsh desert environment, stubborn camels, and come across nomads and Bedouins as they start in Mauritania and make their way east.

Mauritius

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

El Chapo, a notorious, drug king from Mexico, found himself on the top of many lists; from the Forbes billionaire list to the FBI’s most wanted. This book traces the rise of El Chapo from a poor farmer family in Sinaloa to one of the world’s richest men.

True life reads better than fiction. The author, a cop from LA, lands in the Pacific in the late 1970s to become the police chief. He shares with us stories that are hard to fathom with all of the intrigue of dealing with a different culture and people. This book is a great, fun read.

There is not a lot of literature on this anonymous-like Eastern European country. But this book is an excellent and humorous introduction to Moldova. British comedian, Tony Hawks, makes a wager in a pub that is both improbable and incredibly creative. Watch as the author jumps into the deep end of the pool, attempting to win the bet at all cost. He needs to play and beat all of the players of the national Moldovan football team at tennis.

Monaco

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

Genghis Khan is known worldwide as a savage warrior who ruled an empire that ranged from Hungary to Siberia, more land than the Romans managed to capture over 400 years. But his genius lay beyond his superlative war skills, his real acumen was to be witnessed as a statesman. Khan melded disparate lands and cultures. Khan instituted the rule of law, established public schools, encouraged religious freedom, and established free trade. These trade routes also allowed for the free flow of ideas ranging from technology to the first international paper currency to a postal system. visiting Mongolia, you can follow his footsteps in the glorious, green steppes.

Montenegro

I’ve been here, but I have not read a book yet for this country. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

This lighthearted account shares the Moroccan tradition of story telling that has taken place for centuries but is unfortunately dying out. The author gathers dozens of stories and fables that share lessons and have entertained generations. For years, people would gather in squares throughout the country and sit and be beguiled by these storytellers.

Mozambique

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

A beautiful country with a depressing history. Germany colonized Namibia at the end of the 19th century and this resulted in tragedy for the local population. Namibia is comprised of multiple tribes, with some of them nearly being wiped out entirely. Some consider it to be a forerunner of the Holocaust during World War II.

Nauru

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!

This primer for Nepal presents a series of short stories from multiple travelers. My favorite tale, is of the living goddess of Kathmandu, the Royal Kumari. She is ordained as a toddler and placed in a home in the capital. Visitors can wait in the courtyard to catch a glimpse of her.

Amsterdam, one of tourists’ most popular stops, is well known for its red light district and pot bars. This book traces Amsterdam’s centuries long struggle of sea verse land, and how it shapes the city’s outlook. The book touches on how free thought and free love touch the residents and city.

New Zealand

I haven’t been here yet. Is there a book you would suggest?

If so, please reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite book for that country.  Thanks!