193 Incredible Travel Books – Counting Countries Part III

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 or even three if I am lucky) pertaining to each country (and also some non-official countries as well) I visit.  Reading a book can provide so much more context for 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 as I explored this former capital.

And yes, this list is not literally a list of 193 books, but an ongoing series of great books (which will eventually have a representative book for each country at some point) that I have read and which have enriched my travels.  These are all Amazon affiliates, meaning I earn a fee if you make a purchase. 

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 Gambia to New Zealand.

Erudite, military adventurer, William Walker, arrives in Nicaragua in the 19th century with a small group of mercenaries to overthrow the government. Besides fighting local forces, he was also matched against the richest person in the world, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who wanted to build a canal in Nicaragua connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Niger

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!

Nigeria

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!

There is no smoking gun or explosive reveal in this true account of a reporter who goes undercover to teach at an elite school in Pyongyang. Yet, the book showcases the paranoia, deception, and confusion that permeates life in North Korea.

This is the unbelievable account of a North Korean man who is born into captivity. When imprisoned in North Korea, one person’s crimes will result in three generations being imprisoned in the prison camps. The prisoner in this true account grew up believing the world was flat and that every person in the world either lived in prison or was a guard a prison. He knew nothing else. This book is a horrific account of life within the Hermit Kingdom.

One of my favorite stops in Oslo, was the Nobel Peace Prize museum and the City Hall where the medal is awarded. This book makes these sites come alive when you visit. Trace some of the more controversial winners over the years.

Oman

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!

The book traces the fraught history between Pakistan and United States since Pakistan gained its independence in 1947. It is a story of misaligned expectations and temporary alliances. Both sides made multiple mistakes and miscues over the past decades.

This is a fun and quick read and provides insights on what life was like in the 1960s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A Peace Corp volunteer is plopped down in this tropical paradise and embeds himself within the local community. He shares with the reader his adventures in this sedate backwater, everything from when Hollywood comes to film a movie to SCUBA adventures with sharks to local love interests.

This is one of those true accounts of a tale that reads better than any novel. This is the account of one of man’s most dauting and impressive engineering feats, carving a canal in the middle of a jungle. Read about the characters that bring this feat to realization and amaze at their resiliance and celebrate their tribulations.

A US military plane crashes into the jungle of New Guinea in World War II. Despite the crash site being only dozens of miles from the US base where the plane departed, it takes months for the military to devise a rescue plan to help the survivors. The survivors interact with the indigenous tribes while they wait for their rescue. These tribes are seeing non-natives for their first time in their lives and are living in the same manner as their ancestors did for countless centuries.

There are not a lot of reading options when it comes to this South American land-locked back water. Thankfully, the author provides a humor-filled account of Paraguay’s unique and quirky history with a overview of some tragic and fascinating past leaders.

An improbable non-fiction account that reads like a novel. The author details how Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his 167 men defeated the Incas in 1532. In an epic battle where the Spaniards were outnumbered 200 to 1, horses and steel proved to be a decisive factor. A real life Guns Germs and Steel. Soon after the conquistadors seized Cuzco and present day Peru became a Spanish colony. This rag tag force became wealthy beyond their wildest dreams in the process. Today, you can stroll the streets of the historic city of Cuzco.

Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos dominated the Philippines for 21 years as the leader of the country. The book also traces 100 years of American colonialism and domination over this South East Asian country.

Poland was the proverbial hot potato between the Germans and Russians during WWII. Polish insurgents (the underground) battled the German army for two viscous months that left the city devastated. The Soviets callously stood by, not assisting the Poles. This is an incredible and inspiring account of these brave people who fought for their freedom.

I think we have all read a book or two on WWII. Of course, most of those books will be on epic events like D-Day or the fall of Berlin. But this intriguing book focuses on the side story of Portugal’s role in the war. Here you can read the stories of the spies, the royals, and the refugees as the spend time in Portugal, a country that was neutral during this war.

Qatar

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!

Romania

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!

Read as Peter the Great propels medieval Russia into the modern world. Transport yourself back to the late 17th and early 18th century and watch as Peter the Great wills the new capital of Russia, the captivating St. Petersburg. The book details the equally fascinating Charles XII of Sweden as he battles Russia in a multi-year war. Dozens and dozens of landmarks still exist today in St. Petersburg and will complement any walking tour.

This book is a riveting non-fiction account of an American investment banker who enters Russia as the tip of the spear as it transitions to capitalism. It is the wild west., where fortunes are made and lost. This too could to be true account traces his story as he creates the largest foreign fund investing in Russia. But Russia, the bear, rears its head in the form of superlative corruption that results in the banker’s lawyer. Then follow him as he extracts his pound of flesh from Russia in a fight for justice. Could not put the book down.

A Journey into the Real Russia is an account of years of reporting by Russian speaking author, Anne Garrels. Russians often say there are two Russias. Moscow and the rest of the country. Garrels realizing this spends over two decades visiting Chelyabinsk. Chelyabinsk is in the hear of Russia, a former closed off military city. She traces its recent history as its transitions from communism, democracy/capitalism, and then Putin’s corrupt kleptocracy. She converses with ex-con taxi drivers, a mafia strong man, professors, and entrepreneur funeral directors to gain insights of life in this rust-belt city. The optimism and hope of the early 1990s transitions to fear and indifference as Putin increases his stranglehold over everyone’s daily life.

Stories From Rwanda. Many people are aware of the horrific genocide that took place in Rwanda in the mid-90s. Author, Gourevitch, shares with the reader the effects of colonialism on the two main ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis. The book traces the macro happenings of the genocide as well as sharing stories of how neighbors killed neighbors. He then explains the tragic aftermath which creates a refugee crisis and the aftermath of how a nation attempts to heal.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

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!

Saint Lucia

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!

Saint Vincent and The Grenadines

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!

Samoa

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!

San Marino

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!

São Tomé and Príncipe

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!

Saudi Arabia

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

The author has lived in Senegal for over 50 years and he shares with us his insights.  He arrived in Senegal as a Peace Corp volunteer in 1965 and never left.  This book is a mash up of real events and people as well as some fictional inventions.  We learn about the rich and diverse culture of Senegal as he recounts his experiences.

Serbia

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!

Seychelles

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!

In this book, we meet future child soldier, Beah, who is swept up in the civil war of Sierra Leone. The story traces this 12 year old as he transitions from normal pre-teen to cocaine fueled murderer.  Spoiler alert.  The true story has a happy ending as the UN, finds and frees him and eventually rehabilitates him.

Singapore

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!

Slovakia

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!

Slovenia

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!

Somalia

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!

Solomon 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 pick is quite obvious, but an essential read for any visitor to South Africa. Nelson Mandela is a tremendously pivotal figure in South Africa as well as the world. This autobiography goes into great detail tracing Mandela’s entire life.

South Sudan

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!

The book follows the election of a Republic Government and the following coup of General Franco and Spain’s path to fascism prior to the start of WWII. Franco was supported by both Hitler and Mussolini.

A Motorcycle Journey into the Heart of Sri Lanka’s Civil War. The author gets a bike and decides to understand Sri Lanka’s civil war by driving through the heart of it. Throwing caution to the wind, he spends time with terrorists, drug dealers, criminals, and ordinary people who are all part of this 30 year civil war.

Sudan

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!

Suriname

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!

Swaziland

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!

Sweden

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!

Switzerland

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!

Syria

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!

Tajikistan

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!

Tanzania

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

It is not often you can say a book really changed your life, but this one really did.  Father Joe, an American priest, moved to Bangkok in the 1970s to begin an outreach program for Bangkok’s most at risk.  I read the book, flew to Bangkok and I volunteered for Father Joe, working at two kindergarten schools.

Thailand has it all; dream-like islands, mountains dotted with hill tribes, and a bustling cosmopolitan capital, Bangkok. Many visitors are enthralled with their stays in this kingdom. And many opt to stay for the long haul. But brush past the surface of your ten day trip and scratch at the unique culture and people of Thailand. The author, American Frank Visakay, is a long term resident of Thailand who shares with the reader a series of highly entertaining vignettes, many detailing the intersection of farangs and Thai bar girls. This book is not winning any Pultizers but it is an interesting, light read.

Chiang Kai Shek was the nationalist leader of China in the 1920s, but was under tremendous pressure, from the Japanese and the Chines communists. Eventually Chiang Kai Shek and the nationalists are driven out of China by Mao, where they decamp to the nearby island of Taiwan to create a separate country.

Togo

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!

Tonga

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!

Trinidad and Tobago

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!

Tunisia

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!

Turkey

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!

Turkmenistan

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!

Tuvalu

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 story heard often throughout Africa, a country is birthed after a long history of colonialism and usually it is a difficult birthing. Uganda unfortunately fell into this category of chaos, death and civil war. In 1972, Eliphaz Laki, a government official disappears under the brutal regime of Idi Amin. Laki’s son over the years finds his father’s grave and tracks down his killers. The author weaves in Uganda’s history while detailing a son’s journey to learn about his father’s death.

From the 1929-1932 the Soviet Union began a process of collectivization while deporting millions of peasants. The results were tragic. Following this process, the Soviets set impossible to meet grain quotas and confiscated most food from the peasants. It is estimated that over 14 million died during these times.

A near incredulous transformation of a village without electricity and legal slavery in the 1960s to an innovative city state. Today, Dubai is an amalgamation of superlatives and unique one-offs. Under the stewardship of the Maktoum family, Dubai is propelled into the 21st century. As a visitor you will be astonished at the transformation of present day Dubai from its recent historical roots.

United Kingdom

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!

stable genius

I’ve read a tons books on the US and there are so many excellent books to choose from, many incredibly uplifting.  I chose a Very Stable Genius as a cautionary tale of what is possible.  A supposed stable democracy backed by independent institutions can quickly be dismantled by a erratic demagogue.  Read this book to get a sense of what is happening in America

Uruguay

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!

I love these stories, a fish out of water. A Brit moves to the UNESCO town of Khiva in Uzbekistan for a volunteer position. He ends up developing a silk weaving business employing the economically challenged. He traces the challenge of moving to a foreign country and tracing all of the subtle and giant culture differences during his journey.

The Pacific paradise was once ruled by both the French and the Brits in the 20th century.  Quite an unruly situation.  Things got more bizarre when a tribal leader in 1980 took up arms, well some bows and arrows, to fight of the imperials overlords.

Venezuela

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!

If you wish to begin to understand the horrors that befell the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, you need to check out this memoir. Through the eyes of the author, you will witness the war as the pre-teen suffers through starvation, torture, rape, imprisonment, and death of her loved ones. You will be moved by the authors fortitude and courage and give you a new appreciation of this country’s people.

In the late 1970s, the author found himself shipwrecked in the Red Sea of Yemen. Eventually, he was rescued and brought to Yemen, but not before he buried seven years of travel journals on the island. Ten years later he returns to explore and attempt to fund his buried journals.

David Livingstone intrepid Scottish explorer traipsed for months through Africa attempting to find the source of the Nile and along the way “discovering” Victoria Falls, which visits both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Don’t be surprised if you can not put this book down. This 19th century explorer being followed by Henry Morton Stanley throughout Africa surprised the reader page after page.

Author (and friend), Harry Mitsidis details the amazing and fascinating account of extreme traveler William Baekeland. In this true account, Baekeland who presents himself as the heir to a billionaire ingratiates himself to the travel community. Then (allegedly) money deposited for future trips with Baekeland begins to go missing. Mitsidis starts researching this mysterious 20 something year old to find the truth.

There are many clubs to choose from around the world, and they range from the pedestrian to the exclusive. One of these elite fraternities is the 536 people from 38 countries who have traveled to space as defined by the FAI. Another club with only a handful of members are the individuals who have traveled to every country on earth. The UN recognizes 193 countries. According to the authors of this book, Chasing 193, the club numbers less than 100 participants. So imagine that, more people have traveled to outer space than have traveled to this list of 193 countries.

The authors, Ryan Trapp and Henrik Jeppesen, spent time interviewing 20 members of this club. You will witness their motivations and the risks they taken to achieve this goal. Adventures have ranged from being jailed in countries you did not know existed, being felled by an unbearable case of food sickness, or being stranded on a remote Pacific Island. Some members have accomplished this goal while working full time with a modest salary and limited holidays. Others have been more fortunate with greater funds and ample free time. Whether you have never left your living room or you are on a similar quest, there are many lessons to learn from these dauntless explorers.

The author takes a global tour of countries who have at one time or another have been to subject to the largesse of military action in the name of freedom and democracy. He spends time in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central America. He spends time with the locals and networking learning about the effects of US military action and after the party, what are the effects. Enjoy the interactions with the locals and the telling anecdotes.

The author takes a global tour of countries who have at one time or another have been to subject to the largesse of military action in the name of freedom and democracy. He spends time in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central America. He spends time with the locals and networking learning about the effects of US military action and after the party, what are the effects. Enjoy the interactions with the locals and the telling anecdotes.