Argentina: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Argentina guide provides a selection of travel literature to enhance your trip.
After years out of print, Lucas Bridges’ classic, Uttermost Part of the Earth (1947), was republished in 2008. Bridges brilliantly describes his life among the indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego – a must-read for anyone heading south.
Another account of an old journey is Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s offbeat The Motorcycle Diaries (2003), in which the young medical student recounts his eye-opening journey by motorcycle in 1951–2 through Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia.
In Bad Times in Buenos Aires (1999), Miranda France covers everything from Argentine condoms to psychoanalysis in a wry (and sometimes overbearingly negative) account of her stay in the capital while working as a journalist in the 1990s.
If you’re going to be wandering down to Patagonia (and even if you’re not), pick up Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia (1977), one of the most informed syntheses of life and landscape for any part of South America.
For a glimpse into some gripping Patagonian mountaineering, read Gregory Crouch’s Enduring Patagonia (2001), in which the author details his ascents of Cerro Torre’s brutal west face and several other wild climbs.
Nick Reding’s The Last Cowboys at the End of the World: The Story of the Gauchos of Patagonia (2001) takes place mostly in Chile, but is equally pertinent to the conditions and changes in neighboring Argentine Patagonia.
Frequently reprinted, William Henry Hudson’s Idle Days in Patagonia (1893) is a romantic account of the 19th-century naturalist’s adventures in search of migratory birds. Also check out his The Purple Land (1885) and Far Away and Long Ago (1918).
More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.