We have always had a thing for books. Since our youth we have had a passion for works dealing with the epic, courageous, and adventurous spirit. It is in our own spirits to learn and follow the examples given in these books. We have therefore compiled this list of 11 courageous books for your enjoyment and encouragement. They vary greatly in genre and style, which is why we had so much fun making this list!
Writer, Editor, Part-time Timber Framer
Mornings On Horseback by David McCullough
In my opinion there are very few books to outclass Mornings On Horseback. Set in the time period of 1869-1885, this is the extraordinary story of the Roosevelt family, and the formation of the legendary Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Even though it only covers Theodore Roosevelt’s childhood and young adult life, it is truly inspiring to read about the transformation of a sickly boy into a hardened cattleman and enterprising legislator. David McCullough weaves a fascinating tale!
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
Set in the midst of England’s War of the Roses, this forgotten classic by Robert Louis Stevenson is one of the best adventure tales ever written. The writing is so vivid, and the main character’s journey so epic, even years later the scenes summoned by your imagination remain with you. Every avenue of courage and daring is explored: urban warfare, Robin Hood-esque outlawry, piracy, and the rescuing of damsels-in-distress. This book is truly a worthwhile read!
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
No list of adventurous books can possibly be complete without the American classic: Tom Sawyer. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are many and varied; it would be impossible to give a summary here. The entire novel is deliciously flavored with Southern, Mississippi culture and you love every character Mark Twain presents to you (except the Model Boy of course).
A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
This is probably the strangest courageous tale you will find in this list. Professor Otto Lidenbrock deciphers a medieval message claiming that there is a passage in Iceland to the center of the earth. The impatient professor quickly drags his nephew Axel on a harrowing, subterranean adventure filled with strange occurrences.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Sam Gribley is the boy all boys want to be. Tired of living in New York City, Sam runs away to the Catskills Mountains to live off the land. The book follows Sam as he discovers new wild foods, captures a peregrine falcon and trains it to hunt for him, and meets a slew of interesting guests (both wild and domestic). The book really hammers home our connection to the land.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Endurance is a tale of endurance…and is also a telling of one of the greatest true stories in history. It is a gripping, detailed history of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the ship Endurance; how they became stranded on the ice pack of the Weddell Sea for over five months after their ship was crushed; and how Shackleton led a party of five men in an open boat on an 800 mile journey across the most dangerous sea in the world. Epic does not even begin to describe this story; if it weren’t true it would be unbelievable.
Infantryman, Triathlete, Surfer
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life by Admiral William McRaven, US Navy Ret.
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.
Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
This is one of the best sci-fi books–it’s also one of the best fictional war stories. Unlike other science fiction, Ender’s Game merely uses space and aliens as a setting; the book is about Ender.
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut–young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Every man was once a boy. And every little boy has dreams, big dreams, dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress. Every little girl has dreams, too: of being rescued by her prince and swept up into a great adventure, knowing that she is the beauty.
But what happens to those dreams when we grow up? Walk into most churches, have a look around, and ask yourself: What is a Christian man? Without listening to what is said, look at what you find there. Most Christian men are . . . bored.
John Eldredge’s renowned Christian classic, Wild at Heart, invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God. And he invites women to discover the secret of a man’s soul and to delight in the strength and wildness men were created to offer.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This is the story that made my brother and I want to be kings when we were young. This tale is about four siblings: two brothers and two sisters, who enter a magical world through a wardrobe. What follows is an adventurous mix of talking animals, betrayal, and a deadly war between good and evil. C.S. Lewis’ classic is the book that has set many of the conventions of modern fantasy. It’s a great family read.