Desert Island Authors

Continuing the series on stuff I’d take to a desert island (see here for Guns, and here for Dames), let me remind you first of the island:

And now to the main topic.

Usually, the “Desert Island” series consists of only five items (e.g. 5 songs/discs), but there is no way on Earth that I could survive with only five books.  Recently, I have noted that such questions now allow compendia — e.g. the Sharpe’s Rifles series or the Hornblower series, and so on.

So now I’m broadening the scope, so to speak, to allow myself to take the complete works of five fiction authors onto that desert island.  They are, in no specific order:

  • Ian Fleming
  • William Shakespeare
  • D.H. Lawrence
  • P.G. Wodehouse
  • John Sandford*

*unlike the others, Sandford is still alive and writing, so I’d get at least one new novel every year, to keep things fresh.

I have other favorite authors, of course (Hugo, Dumas, Higgins, Follett and Ruark, for example), but unlike those listed, I don’t like everything they’ve written, whereas the above five are consistently good.

As for the five non-fiction authors, that’s a lot easier:

  • Paul Johnson
  • Victor Davis Hanson
  • John Keegan
  • Jacques Barzun
  • Thomas Sowell

Four historians and an economist.

Your own choices in Comments.


  1. Ian Fleming?

    If you would allow a fiction/nonfiction author , the works of Solzhenitsyn would be a good choice. Or you could put him in either group as a substitute for anyone except Shakespeare, Sowell and Keegan. Maybe VDH if you stick to his historical books.

  2. I not a fan of rereading stuff I’ve already read. So I always go to the Local Library Light used Book sales and build up my Hard cover collection of books read when I get older. ( or on vacation ).

    I might suggest the Tom Clancy Books if You’ve never read them. But it’s important to read them In the order they were Published. Plus they series continues with two writers who each publish one a year, Dec and June.

    Then try the series by Vince Flynn. and David Beldacci and Lee Childs.

      1. Rainbow Six isn’t too bad, but you can see that Clancy was starting to work with co-authors who lacked the master’s touch. After that…agree 100%.

        1. I agree, although the schadenfreude of leaving the ecoterrorists naked in the Amazon to commune with nature was just too delicious.

          Hollywood really screwed the pooch on the movie version of Rainbow Six, where the woke asshole producers replaced the Clancy-described blonde Mr. Clark with a black man, and conjured up a new character, Karen Greer, not just as a mere SEAL, but as a SEAL team leader, who saves the day. This new character is the niece of the long-running character Admiral Greer in Clancy’s novels.
          Oh, barf.
          One, there are very few blacks in the real SEAL teams, and
          two, there has never been a woman SEAL, and three, if there were a female SEAL, I’d expect her to be more like a muscular man in drag than the slender former model cast for the role.
          We’re so overwhelmed with feminazi wokist fantasies about women doing things that in the real world would get them humiliated, get their asses kicked or get them killed, 90% of the dreck on TV and movies in the past 20 years makes my stomach churn.

      2. Fiction Authors:
        C.S. Forester
        J.R.R. Tolkien
        E.E. Smith
        Patrick O’Brien

        Will & Ariel Durant
        Norman Friedman
        Sir Julian Corbett

  3. Fiction: Shakespeare, Dickens, Wodehouse, Heinlein, and Pratchett. Shakespeare is normally a freebie, as is the Bible (or Koran or…), so I’ll add Homer.

    Non-fiction: Thatcher (autobiographies and collected speeches etc), Adam Smith, Mill, Clarkson, and Simpson.

  4. Echoing the above. Wodehouse, Kipling, & Haggard for sure. Tom Clancy’s later books really fell off. Hell i might just take the unread volumes I have in my library now.

  5. Fiction: William Shakespeare, P. G. Wodehouse, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson.

    Non-fiction: John Julius Norwich, Richard B. Frank, Bruce Catton, Barbara Tuchman.

    Both at the same time: Winston Churchill.

  6. Fiction:

    * J.R.R. Tolkien
    * Isaac Asimov
    * Robert Heinlein
    * Poul Anderson
    * The Niven/Pournelle collaborations


    * Simon Winchester
    * Barbara Tuchman
    * Mike Reynolds
    * Shelby Foote
    * Stephen Ambrose, despite the occasional flaws in his scholarship

  7. What was the list of books that “George” took with him?
    Plus, that “island” isn’t very “dessertly”.

  8. Don’t forget Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. James Lee Burke as well. H.G. Wells for classic scifi.

  9. Bedarra Island?

    I thought you weren’t fond of Oz, to many things to bite/sting/kill you?

    1. It’s just a guideline, not a specific place. However, if that island IS in the Seychelles, then I’d take it over just about any other spot on the planet.

  10. I agree with your and many of the other choices listed here. Jack Carr is a new thriller author I’ve discovered, and Brad Thor’s stuff is fabulous. Both are career spec ops veterans. VDH is superb, I have a hardcover on WWII by him on my list.

    I am surprised, however, nobody has yet mentioned Bernard Cornwell’s books. His books about the formation of England are superb. I’ve read the three in The Warlord Chronicles (King Arthur series), and the 13 in the Last Kingdom series (Uhtred of Bebbanberg). If shipwrecked I’d happily read through them all again.

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