Are you planning to visit America? Perhaps you are tempted to do the classic American road trip. Reading about USA is one of the best ways to get excited for your trip, so we’ve put together a comprehensive list of books to read before visiting America.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
One of the most popular books to read while travelling. It follows the true story of young man Christopher McCandless. After graduating in 1990, inspired by the novels of Jack London, Chris gave away his college fund to charity, ceased all communication with his family and began travelling across Western and North America. The journey lasted almost two years and ended with his demise in Alaska. Writing it, Krakauer relied on eye-witness accounts, letters Chris sent to friends and his journals, which he kept for the greater part of his journey.
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
In 1960, at the age of 58, John Steinbeck sets out on a journey to rediscover the country he has been writing about for many years. He travels throughout United States in a specially made camper, accompanied by his French poodle, Charley. This travelogue has been long regarded by some as a classic of American travel writing and one of the best books to read before visiting America.
Blue Highways: A Journey into America, by William Least Heat Moon
In 1978, after losing his job and separating from his wife, a 38 years old Heat Moon sets out on a 3 month journey around the United States. The author chose to experience the real America as he visits small towns and forgotten parts of the country, following the “Blue Highways” – back roads, which used to be labelled blue on maps. The book chronicles the 13000 mile road trip and the people Heat Moon met along the way.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuous hiking trails in the world. It runs along the East Coast of the United States from Georgia to Maine, for over three thousand kilometers. A Walk in the Woods is Bill Bryson’s humorous account of his attempt to walk the trail with his old friend Stephen Katz.
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson
First travel book by a best-selling British – American author Bill Bryson. In 1987 Bryson decides to take a road trip across the United States starting in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. He is primary sticking to the backroads, travelling mainly through small towns, avoiding tourist destinations in order to experience the “real” America.
Wild:From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
American writer Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir about her over a thousand mile solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. The journey is not only a physical challange for the unexperienced hiker, but also a way for Cheryl to face her troubled pass and deal with her mothers sudden death and breakdown of her marriage.
American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders by Richard Grant
Richard Grant is a freelance British travel writer, who spent 15 years travelling around the wilds of the American West. American Nomads is not only a personal account of his travels but also an insightful look at nomadic culture in America covering both modern-day (hippies, tramps, retirees in motorhome) and historical (Native Americans, early settlers) travellers.
A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
In 1973, dissatisfied with American society and his unsuccessful marriage, Peter Jenkins, a young college graduate decides to walk across the USA. Accompanied by his trusty dog Cooper, he sets out on journey from New York to New Orleans. His travelogue became a huge bestseller and was featured in National Geographic magazine.
The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America by Mike McIntyre
Journalist Mike McIntyre decides to hitchhike across United States from San Francisco to Cape Fear, North Carolina without a penny in his pocket, relying purely on what is given to him by strangers.
A People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn
A 1980 non-fiction book by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn. This unique history of the United States is told from the perspective of its victims: Native Americans, African Americans, migrant workers, factory labourers, those living in poverty, and women.
Take Me with You by by Catherine Ryan Hyde
August Schroeder, a burnt out teacher and recovering alcoholic, who has recently tragically lost his son sets out on a camper-van trip to Yellowstone National park, a place that both he and his late son Phillip wanted to visit.