Photograph by Kim Kurian
Photograph by Kim Kurian

The Outside Adventure Canon: 25 Essential Books for the Well-Read Explorer

Photograph by Kim Kurian

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In the January 2003 issue, Outside editors announced our picks for the 25 best adventure books of the last 100 years. The arduous selection process required hundreds of hours of reading, conversation, and debate, involving a wide circle of writers, explorers, scholars, and friends. Along the way we suffered our share of panic attacks and shouting matches. Ultimately, though, we assembled a bold, highly subjective shortlist of titles—then perversely decided to make our job even tougher by ranking them from 25th to first.

Track down adventure books at these locations:





Strand Book Store

Barnes & Noble

Library of Congress
Photograph by Kim Kurian Photograph by Kim Kurian

Agree with our picks? Think we’re nuts? The forum linked to below, which kicks off with excerpts from e-mail debates that raged between Outside editors and writers as we narrowed down our canon selections, is your chance to get a word in. So go on, hazard a nomination for your favorite adventure book of the last century. But be ready to defend your position—we’re ready to defend ours. —The Editors

Nominate your picks for the best adventure books in the Outside Canon Forum.

Take a look back at the first Outside Canon, which appeared in May 1996 and included over 100 classics in outdoor literature.

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