Books for people who want to be Indiana Jones

Adventure! Action! Exotic locations! Romance and friendship and family! Fantasy elements! Mystery and mayhem! (Aliens!)

The man himself.
The man himself.

All these things (and more!) are what make the Indiana Jones movies so exciting and fun; I like to continue having that same fun away from the TV screen. Thus I’ve compiled a list of books that have similar elements to the Indiana Jones movies, while not being exact copy-cats.

Check out these books to get your archaeological-travel-adventure fix, y’all! (All the non-review links are affiliate links, btw):


The Lost City of Z by David Grann. A reporter goes into the Amazon jungle in search of himself or something idk. Also kind of a biography of an adventurer who disappeared a really long time ago! Read my review of The Lost City of Z here. Passionate Nomad sm

Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark by Jane Fletcher Geniesse. A biography of Freya Stark, hardcore traveler/adventurer/all-around awesome person. An example of the things she did:

Leaving behind a miserable family life, Freya set out, at the age of thirty-four, to explore remote and dangerous regions of the Middle East. She was captured in 1927 by the French military police after penetrating their cordon around the rebellious Druze. She explored the mountainous territory of the mysterious Assassins of Persia, became the first woman to explore Luristan in western Iran, and followed ancient frankincense routes to locate a lost city. Admired by British officialdom, her knowledge of Middle Eastern languages and culture aided the military and diplomatic corps, for whom she conceived an effective propaganda network during WWII.

Six Months in the Sandwich Islands by Isabella L. Bird. Isabella Bird was a Victorian lady who traveled to places people didn’t expect Victorian ladies to go to. On her own dime! Supported by her writing and her wits!

Going Solo by Roald Dahl. Dahl’s memoir of life as a World War II pilot is both fascinating and hilarious. Read my review of Going Solo here!


Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll. Two siblings team up with their uncle to find their parents and maybe stop an evil secret society from taking over the world. Bonus points for being in journal format and having really nice illustrations! Read my review of Operation Red Jericho here.
Buried Pyramid
The Buried Pyramid by Jane Lindskold. A British archaeologist and his neice go to Egypt and ~~mysterious things happen~~. Read my review of The Buried Pyramid here.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. Archaeologists and Egypt and mummies and MYSTERY! Amelia Peabody, aged spinster (I guess), goes abroad to have fun and dig up stuff and then some fools get in the way. Also, Emerson.

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris. Victorian-era steampunk with secret societies, librarians, and New Zealand pepper pots. Read my review of Phoenix Rising here.

What books would you add to this list? I totally need more recs for ones set in the first half of the 20th century– mostly mine seem to be Victorian era?

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