Books on Isolation

Sorry if I’m posting this in the wrong place. I wasn’t sure if it should go here or in Cafe Society.

Can anybody recommend some good non-fiction books on the effects of isolation?

My library has stuff on social isolation, I don’t see anything about actual isolation. The closest I found was a book called Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson. But it’s still about a group of people.

There is a book about a French? guy who tried living in a nasty, cold, wet cave for many months. His only human contact were IIRC short once/twice? a day communications over a long phone wire that lead to the surface. I’d guess this was done in the late 50s, 60s, early 70s.

And IIRC his sense of time got pretty messed up, he got majorly depressed, and his world kept shrinking, because at first he would wander all over the cave, but by the end he rarely got further away from the tent than the little cooking area set up next to the tent.

It did not sound remotely fun to me for sure.

If you go over to the caver forum, I’d bet somebody there could track that book down for you.

“Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea” that went into some of the effects.

Any books on social or emotional isolation would also be extremely helpful.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I’ll definitely have to look into them.

In that case:

The Lonely American : drifting apart in the twenty-first century, by Jacqueline Olds

Bowling Alone, by Robert D. Putnam

iBrain : surviving the technological alteration of the modern mind, by Gary W. Small

Wish I could be there : notes from a phobic life, by Allen Shawn

Shoulder to Shoulder : the journey from isolation to brotherhood, by Rod Cooper

The Connection Gap: why Americans feel so alone, by Laura Pappano

Probably not what you’re looking for, but seem interesting nevertheless:

Fast girls : teenage tribes and the myth of the slut, by Emily White

Oh, God, oh, God, oh God! : young adults speak out about sexuality & Christian spirituality, by Lara Blackwood Pickrel


I haven’t read any of these, but that slut book looks good.

I read Solitude, by Bob Kull . He spent a year on an small Island along Patagonia’s coastal wilderness. The book was used for his thesis. I found though he spent more time worrying about things that could go wrong instead of just enjoying being in the moment.

Anything about Richard Proenneke should be worth a read as well.

Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto by Anneli Rufus

It’s about people who keep to themselves and like it that way.

I know you said you wanted non-fiction, but if you can find a copy of Memoirs of an Invisible Man, by H.F. Saint, it goes into great detail about isolation and the emotional and mental fallout.

Note: I am in no way endorsing the horrific movie of the same name starring Chevy Chase. Stay away, far away. But check out the book.