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Lost City of the Incas (Phoenix Press) Paperback – October 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
All this being said, I must emphasize that this book is a treasure and a must read for anyone about to visit Macchu Picchu - if only to contrast the conditions encountered by Bingham and his Indians to those that exist today, when busloads of clueless tourists are delivered straight to the Temple of the Sun. The first third of the book consists of a superb Introduction including a recapitulation of the16th century records of the Incas and their empire (including the awesome Pachakuti Inca), very competent review of Inca technology (many of their and an excellent recapitulation of the life stories of the last 4 Incas. The last part describes the actual "discovery" of Macchu Picchu which occured by procuring, for a silver coin, the services of Anacleto Alvarez, a local Qechua who had been living among the ruins all along. Macchu Pichu therefore had never been truly "lost" and "discovery" has in this context many interesting connotations.Read more ›
Bingham wrote THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS with verve nearly 30 years after his achievement. To its credit, it is not riddled with hindsight but offers an immediacy of perspective. He begins with a very lucid, unbiased reading of the end of the Incan empire by the Europeans who leveled it. Bingham then recounts his own adventures in the discovery and subsequent archeological efforts, after which he provides a gloss on Incan culture as understood in those first digs. Bingham's narrative never bogs, even among the dryer material. The book stirs with wonder. Bingham may have been an ambitious man but his ambitions in this context are all about furthering knowledge for all.
The only reason to nick a star in the rating: datedness. Thanks to Bingham's inspiration, Incan studies perpetuate and some of his conclusions are no longer current. Though in one section he refers to native Indians as "savages," the book is largely and refreshingly free of elitism. He struck a deal with Peru to remove artifacts for study at Yale, with the stipulation that Peru could have them back when it wanted them. That's a drama that's unfolding now.
I know some people disagree over whether it's better to read the book before or after visiting Machu Picchu, but I'm honestly glad I read it after my trip. It was interesting to go through the last chapter on his excavations and think to yourself: "I know EXACTLY where he's talking about!" I can picture his route there because the trip was still fresh in my mind and I had a great understanding of the altitude and appreciation for climbing through the jungle for more than an hour to get to the top of Machu Picchu. The most interesting read to me was about his companion who attempted to climb Huayna Picchu. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to climb it during my trip and that was honestly the most challenging thing I've ever done. Huayna Picchu is a vertical hike and it took tremendous effort to climb all the way to the top. That makes me appreciate the time it took Bingham's companion, Mr. Heald, to get there even more. Apparently Mr. Heald had to cut his way through lots of jungle and fell at one point, badly hurting his arm.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought the book as a intro to the Incas before my trip to Peru. The story is quite hard to follow for someone that does not have previous knowledge of the material. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Matija Krajnc
I read this while visiting Machu Picchu, not only was the book informative regarding the history and construction of the ruins, it brought a heightened sense of adventure to the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lynda Spangler
Just got around to reading the whole book and realized this copy is missing page 31-79 (48 pages), with a repeat of pages 191-238. Read morePublished 4 months ago by NW Shopper
GREAT source to prepare for your first visit to Machu Picchu. Lots of history. How much of the book is 'propaganda' ? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Captain Mike
Very good sections on the history, culture, and contributions of the Incas. And the prose of the entire book is quite readable. Read morePublished 6 months ago by htcbyday
Entertaining adventure, but dated when it comes to the descriptions. Loved hearing how one man remembers discovering something new, including himself. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mary Duarte