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

Abkhazia is a region of Georgia in the north-west on the Black Sea.  In 2008, Russia and Georgia entered into a brief war, with the result of two new de facto states being created, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Read the account from a US diplomat who witnessed the march to war.

This true account reads better than any film.  Well, they actually made a movie about this amazing group of special forces soldiers who arrived in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11.  These soldiers teamed up with the Northern Alliance, rode horses, and called in close air support to defeat the Taliban.

This is a story of real life meeting real life. Shortly after 9/11 a Norwegian journalist embeds herself with an Afghan family. The protagonist/antagonist is a prominent bookseller who has both prospered in Kabul as well as been jailed. During my visit to Kabul, I went to the book store and met the main character, Sultan.

There are tourists, travelers, explorers, and then there is Rory Stewart. Stewart walked across Afghanistan in 2002, surviving on his language skills and knowledge of Muslim culture. Stewart overcomes everything from encounters with Taliban soldiers to hiking through snow covered mountains. He is comforted and cared for by complete strangers and the culture of hospitality during his journey.

Albania

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

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France invaded Algeria in 1830 and at one time had one million colonizers in its North African neighbor. It was also a difficult and challenging relationship at best. Outright and sustained conflict took place between 1954-1962, with Algerians eventually winning their freedom against the French. At times, this can be a slow read but provides a comprehensive overview of a tragic relationship.

Andorra – Principality of Andorra

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Angola – Republic of Angola

This petro state is not high on the list for tourists. Considered one of the most expensive countries in the world, limited tourist infrastructure, and a history of violence, turn off many travelers. This book traces the brutal and long civil war that took place after Angola’s independence from Portugal. Multiple players vow for power backed by a series of outside powers from the Soviet Union and the US to Cuba to South Africa.

Antigua and Barbuda

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Argentina – Argentine Republic

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Monte Melkonian grew up playing baseball in California, but died in the battlefields in a distant war of freedom in Nagorno Karabakh. NK was formally an enclave within Azerbaijan but has historically always been part of Armenia. This book shares Monte’s fight for his historical homeland.

his book traces the founding of Australia when England transported 160,000 Brits during the 18th and 19th century. Many of the original colonizers were convicts who were provided a second chance with their move to this foreign land.

Austria – Republic of Austria

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Azerbaijan – Republic of Azerbaijan

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Bahamas, The – Commonwealth of the Bahamas

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Bahrain – Kingdom of Bahrain

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Bangladesh – People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Mohammed Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and author of this book describes his efforts and success of building Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank innovated and specialized in micro-lending with a emphasis on lending and empowering women. His efforts made a substantial impact on Bangladesh as well as the world.

Barbados

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Belarus – Republic of Belarus

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Belgium – Kingdom of Belgium

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This is another true story that reads better than any novel. Sharon Matola, an American woman, ends up settling in Belize. She starts a zoo, caring for orphaned animals. Big business comes to Belize in the form of building a dam that would flood the last nesting ground of the brilliant scarlet macaws of Belize. This begins a multi-year, international fight, where Sharon and her allies, battle government forces and corporate giants who are intent on focusing on profits and not this precious natural resource.

Benin – Republic of Benin

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Bhutan – Kingdom of Bhutan

A fish out of water story of a woman who moves to Bhutan, falls in love with a local, and gets married. The author recounts the cultural nuances and differences of the different lifestyles of the American wife and Bhutanese husband. She also weaves in interesting and novel Bhutanese history in this remote country.

The title sums up the book quite aptly. An American spends time traveling through Bolivia learning and encountering the peculiarities and culture of Bolivia. The author eats at Nazi Klaus Barbie’s favorite restaurant, spends time exploring dark and dank mines, learns about the 19th century war with Chile, partakes in Carnival and of course much more. A very readable travelogue of his adventures in landlocked Bolivia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Botswana – Republic of Botswana

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Brazil – Federative Republic of Brazil

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Brunei – Brunei Darussalam

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This falls squarely in the genre of “fish out of water”. A Midwestern American travels to Sofia for his first time to coach and teach at the American high school. The author shares his trials and tribulations as he attempts to understand the unique psyche of the average Bulgarian. The book is filled with humor, sadness, and hope. I caught myself laughing out loud numerous time as the author tries to navigate and understand the high school players on his basketball team. The author also weaves in the history of this country on the edge of Europe. This book is a must read for anyone visiting Bulgaria.

Burkina Faso

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Burma – Republic of the Union of Myanmar

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Burundi – Republic of Burundi

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This is a first person account of a young girl’s experience growing up under the Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge vicious regime in Cambodia. At the age of five she is cleaved from her family and begins her horrific existence under this genocidal regime. This non-fiction account is a testament to the immense courage in the face of horrific brutality. This genocide touched every single family in Cambodia and will engender greater respect and understanding during your visit.

Cameroon – Republic of Cameroon

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The author provides a humorous and illuminating account of his travels in Central Asia. He shares with us amusing and frustrating accounts one comes to expect when exploring in Central Asia. This is a great first hand account and introduction to the Stans.

Things changed dramatically as five new countries were born after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan gained their independence in 1991. And over time Russia, China, and the USA began a dance of influence and power over these five states. This book provides an over view of the last two decades of a very complicated and nuanced geopolitical struggle.

Canada

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Cape Verde – Republic of Cabo Verde

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Central African Republic

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Chad – Republic of Chad

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Chile – Republic of Chile

I have been fascinated with Easter Island, the remote Pacific island which is part of Chile, since I was a kid. The island is populated with stone Moai statues. The book analyzes the competing theories of how the islanders came to populate the island and how the Moai were constructed.

A three generation account of 20th century life in China proves once again that true life is grander than fiction. The author begins with her grandmother whose feet were bound as a child, and who was sold as a concubine to a warlord. Her mother lived through Mao’s revolution and was later denounced during the Cultural Revolution. This book traces the jarring vicissitudes of China during the last century prior to launching their economic rocket ship. Reading this book prior to your trip, you will appreciate the magnitude of changes through the eyes of the author.

A three generation account of 20th century life in China proves once again that true life is grander than fiction. The author begins with her grandmother whose feet were bound as a child, and who was sold as a concubine to a warlord. Her mother lived through Mao’s revolution and was later denounced during the Cultural Revolution. This book traces the jarring vicissitudes of China during the last century prior to launching their economic rocket ship. Reading this book prior to your trip, you will appreciate the magnitude of changes through the eyes of the author.

Colombia – Republic of Colombia

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Comoros – Union of the Comoros

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Over 80 million people live in the DRC, formally known as Zaire. The country is a smorgasbord of ethnicities, religions and languages. It is a country of amazing natural beauty but unfortunately poverty, war, and violence. The author attempts to explain it all in this daunting tomb. This is a bit of a slog to get through, trying to keep all the names and places straight, but a fantastic overview of the country.

Costa Rica – Republic of Costa Rica

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Croatia – Republic of Croatia

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Through Bacardi, the bat-famous rum, serves as a lens to trace the volatile Cuban history. The multi-generation Bacardi family has its hand in many aspects of Cuban history. Spanish colonization. The fight for freedom. US influence. Castro’s revolution. And life in exile. A great overview and introduction into Cuba’s amazing history and culture.

Cyprus – Republic of Cyprus

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Czech Republic

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Greenland is part of Denmark and is not an officially recognized country by the UN, hence the categorization under Denmark. The author share with us a true account of an air force plane that crashes in icy, formidable Greenland. This is an epic tale of survival, and an intense display of courage by the rescuers.

Djibouti – Republic of Djibouti

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Dominica – Commonwealth of Dominica Dominican Republic

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East Timor – Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

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Ecuador – Republic of Ecuador

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Egypt – Arab Republic of Egypt

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El Salvador – Republic of El Salvador

This is another one of those ugly wars fought in Central America. El Salvador was part of the great game of democracy verse communism. US trained, El Salvadoran troops stormed into the village of El Mozote, hundreds of locals were brutally wiped out.

Equatorial Guinea – Republic of Equatorial Guinea

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There is not a vast choice of books in regard to Eritrea, but this book provides a highly readable account of Eritrea. Eritrea rests on the Red Sea next to Ethiopia and just gained its independence in the early 1990s. The book recounts a long and brutal history of wars, colonization, civil wars, and now a one-party dictatorship. Its nickname today is the “North Korea of Africa”.

Estonia – Republic of Estonia

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Ethiopia – Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

There is not a vast choice of books in regard to Eritrea, but this book provides a highly readable account of Eritrea. Eritrea rests on the Red Sea next to Ethiopia and just gained its independence in the early 1990s. The book recounts a long and brutal history of wars, colonization, civil wars, and now a one-party dictatorship. Its nickname today is the “North Korea of Africa”.

The author, Will Lutwick, is plopped down in Fiji in the late 1960s while Fiji is preparing for independence and America is in the throes of the Vietnam War. Luttwick a Peace Corp Volunteer falls in love with a local Indian girl and clashes with the forces of the island’s conservatism. Light and interesting read to prepare you for Fiji.

Finland – Republic of Finland

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France – French Republic

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Gabon – Gabonese Republic

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Gambia – Republic of the Gambia

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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.

Germany – Federal Republic of Germany

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Germany – Federal Republic of Germany

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Ghana – Republic of Ghana

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 – Hellenic Republic

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Grenada

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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 – Republic of Guinea

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Guinea-Bissau – Republic of Guinea-Bissau

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Guyana – Co-operative Republic of Guyana

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Haiti – Republic of Haiti

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Honduras – Republic of Honduras

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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 – Republic of Iceland

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India – Republic of India

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 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.

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.

Iraq – Republic of Iraq

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Ireland

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Israel – State of Israel

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Italy – Italian Republic

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 – Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

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Jamaica

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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 – Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

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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 – Republic of Kenya

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Kiribati – Republic of Kiribati

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Kiribati – Republic of Kiribati

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Korea, North – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

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Korea, South – Republic of Korea

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Kuwait – State of Kuwait

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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.

Laos – Lao People’s Democratic Republic

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Latvia – Republic of Latvia

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Lebanon – Lebanese Republic

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Lesotho – Kingdom of Lesotho

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Liberia – Republic of Liberia

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Libya – State of Libya

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Liechtenstein – Principality of Liechtenstein

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Lithuania – Republic of Lithuania

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Luxembourg – Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

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Macedonia – Republic of Macedonia

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Madagascar – Republic of Madagascar

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Malawi – Republic of Malawi

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Malaysia

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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 – Republic of Malta

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Marshall Islands – Republic of the Marshall Islands

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Mauritania – Islamic Republic of Mauritania

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 – Republic of Mauritius

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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.

Micronesia

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Moldova – Republic of Moldova

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 – Principality of Monaco

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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

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Morocco – Kingdom of Morocco

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Mozambique – Republic of Mozambique

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Namibia – Republic of Namibia

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Namibia – Republic of Namibia

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Nauru – Republic of Nauru

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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

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Nicaragua – Republic of Nicaragua

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Niger – Republic of Niger

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Nigeria – Federal Republic of Nigeria

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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 – Sultanate of Oman

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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.

Palau – Republic of Palau

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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.

Portugal – Portuguese Republic

War In The Shadows Of The City Of Light, 1939-45 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 – State of Qatar

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Romania

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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.

Before he was one of history’s biggest mass murderers and prolific butcher of Nazis, he was known as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in Georgia, a mesmerizing country in the Caucasus. His early youth is varied, as he spends time as a bank robber, seminary student, and statutory rapist. He eventually rises to become a member of the inner circle during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Visiting the country you can spend time meandering down Stalin Avenue in Gori, Stalin’s birthplace.

A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice 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 – Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis

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Saint Lucia

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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Samoa – Independent State of Samoa

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San Marino – Republic of San Marino

San Marino – Republic of San Marino

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São Tomé and Príncipe – Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe

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Saudi Arabia – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Senegal – Republic of Senegal

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Serbia – Republic of Serbia

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Seychelles – Republic of Seychelles

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Sierra Leone – Republic of Sierra Leone

n 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. The true story has a happy ending as the UN, finds and frees him and eventually rehabilitates him.

Singapore – Republic of Singapore

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Slovakia – Slovak Republic

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Slovenia – Republic of Slovenia

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Somalia – Federal Republic of Somalia (Somaliland)

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Solomon Islands

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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 – Republic of South Sudan

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Spain – Kingdom of Spain

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.

Sri Lanka – Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

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 – Republic of the Sudan

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Suriname – Republic of Suriname

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Swaziland – Kingdom of Swaziland

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Sweden – Kingdom of Sweden

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Switzerland – Swiss Confederation

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Syria – Syrian Arab Republic

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Tajikistan – Republic of Tajikistan

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Tanzania – United Republic of Tanzania

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Thailand – Kingdom of Thailand

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 – Togolese Republic

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Tonga – Kingdom of Tonga

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Trinidad and Tobago – Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

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Tunisia – Republic of Tunisia

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Turkey – Republic of Turkey

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Turkmenistan

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Tuvalu

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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 – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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United States – United States of America

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Uruguay – Oriental Republic of Uruguay

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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.

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.

Venezuela – Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

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Vietnam – Socialist Republic of Vietnam

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.

Disclaimer: I receive a miniscule revenue share from Amazon if you purchase one of these books.  So go ahead buy a bunch!

193 Incredible Travel Books Counting Countries. 

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