Venezuela: travel books to read before you go

This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Venezuela guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

Venezuela’s unique table mountains have captivated writers for over a century. One of the most unusual accounts is by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who, inspired by fabulous stories of explorers of Roraima, gave play to his imagination in the rollicking 1912 tale The Lost World, in which dinosaurs roam the top of the plateau.

Plenty of travellers were in turn inspired by Conan Doyle’s story, including actor and author Brian Blessed, who tells how he fulfilled his childhood dream of visiting the ‘Lost World’ in his beautifully entertaining Quest for the Lost World.

Churún Merú, the Tallest Angel, by Ruth Robertson, is a report of the expedition to Auyantepui, during which the height of Angel Falls was measured for the first time, confirming its status as the world’s highest waterfall.

The famous German geographer and botanist Alexander von Humboldt explored and studied various regions of Venezuela and describes it in his three-volume Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America During the Years 1799–1801. Volume 2 covers the Venezuelan section of his journey. It may sound like a dry, scientific study, but it’s fascinating reading, full of amazing details.

There are a number of books on Chávez and his ‘Bolivarian Revolution,’ though most sources take either a fervent pro- or anti-Chávez stance. Some of the more recent and widely sold titles are Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S., by Nikolas Kozloff; Hugo!: The Hugo Chávez Story from Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution, by Bart Jones; Chávez: Venezuela and the New Latin America, by Hugo Chávez, David Deutschmann and Javier Salado; and Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, by Richard Gott.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.