The number of books for and about overlanding is growing as fast as the overlanding itself. The common genres of books include the “How to” line, the adventure stories, the repurposed camping books, and those books on tangential subjects that add a chapter on overlanding to cast a wider net.
Overlanding Book List
A class How-to book is Overlanders Handbook, a thick tome that covers just about everything. Now in its second edition, fully updated, I’d suggest it as a good starting place for those who know they will get serious about overlanding. Adventure story books about overlanding have been around since the first published drive across Africa. We Will Be Free: Overlanding In Africa and Around South America by Graeme Robert Bell (2015) is another essential read assuming you want family tails about overlanding around Africa. Of the take-aways generalize to America, and even a national park, but the sheer volume and dramatics of the Bell family is truly worth consuming.
From there, you get to decide what knowledge you want. Camping is part of overlanding so if you have personal deficits in that arena, then read-up. If vehicle maintenance is not your thing, then you better get cracking the books on general motor skills. Not that you will immediately be able to weld together the ends of a broken axle, but you can learn basic upkeep and minor problem corrections, of which there will be many in overlanding.
Finally, there are the travel guides. Before you load up the family Truckster and head up the Alaskan Highway, you might want to get up to speed about what to expect. Travel guides are perfect for that.
The final overlanding book question is what books to carry along when overlanding? That all depends on your needs and expectations. But the best advice is to read the books before you hit the road.