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Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time Paperback – Illustrated, April 24, 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time + The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour + Lonely Planet: Peru, 8th Edition
Price for all three: $44.68

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Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452297982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452297982
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ebullient..seamlessly joins three narrative threads..an engaging and sometimes hilarious book."-New York Times Book Review

"[An] entirely delightful book"-Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post (also chosen as a 2011 Year-End Pick)

"Like all great travelogues (and this is certainly one), 'Turn Right'..should come with a fedora and a rucksack." -Men's Journal, Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2011

"Adams deftly weaves together Inca history, Bingham's story and his own less heroic escapade..[A] wry, revealing romp through the Andes."-Wall Street Journal

"A serious (and seriously funny) travelogue, a smart and tightly written history, and an investigative report into perhaps the greatest archaeological discovery in the last century."-Nationalgeographic.com

"Like Bill Bryson, Adams peppers his book with interesting anecdotes, trenchant observations and frequently hilarious asides. But..the book's scholarship and its organization also call to mind John McPhee's 'Coming into the Country'..You're guaranteed to be swept up in Adams' vivid descriptions."-BookPage

"Quite funny and unpretentiously well informed..Short of actually traveling to Machu Picchu yourself, it's the perfect way to acknowledge the lost city's 100th birthday as a modern-day tourist site."-Christian Science Monitor ("Editor's Choice")

"Adams proves an engaging, informative guide to all things Inca."-Entertainment Weekly

"Mark Adams crisscrossed the Andes and has returned with a superb and important tale of adventure and archeology."-Sebastian Junger

"If you haven't been to Machu Picchu and environs, this book will inspire you to drop everything and go. And if you've already been, Turn Right at Machu Picchu will transport you straight back to those soul-soaring heights."-National Geographic Traveler ("Book of the Month")

"A story that hooks readers early and then sails along so interestingly that it's one of those 'can't put it down' books. What more could armchair adventurers want?"-Associated Press

About the Author

Mark Adams's writing has appeared in GQ, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic Adventure, among other publications. He lives near New York City with his wife and their three sons.

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Customer Reviews

This book was very well written by Mark Adams.
Grumiester
Adams does an excellent job of narrating both the history and his own modern day experience of following Bingham's history and the initial discovery of Machu Picchu.
R. Oddone
Anyone planning to visit Machu Picchu should read this book.
Richard Jackson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

190 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Jason Golomb VINE VOICE on June 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mark Adams' "Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time" is a book that's a bit hard to classify. All at once, it's a serious (and seriously funny) travelogue; a smart and tightly written history; and an investigative report into the greatest archaeological discovery of the last century.

Author Adams spent time writing and editing for the now defunct National Geographic Adventurer magazine and despite working with and alongside some of the world's hardest core adventure travelers, he admits to not being much of one himself. He'd visited Machu Picchu with his son, but he'd done it the tourist way. He wanted to REdiscover Machu Picchu - the way its' original discoverer, Hiram Bingham, had 100 years ago this July. He wanted to hike, climb, slog, tent and explore his way through the Vilcabamba region of Peru and finish at the site that was recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Adams doesn't camp and hadn't been in a tent for years leading up to his Peruvian excursion. His preparation for the trip was extensive, including dressing the part of adventurer. "Have you ever seen Mr. Travel Guy? He's the fellow who strides through international airports dressed like he's flying off to hunt wildebeests - shirt with dozens of pockets, drip-dry pants that zip off into shorts, floppy hat with a cord pulled tight under the chin in case a twister blows through the baggage claim area. All of this describes exactly what I was wearing. I could have been trick-or-treating as Hemingway."

Make no mistake. Adams trip was an uncompromising adventure. There were no soft train rides, or helicopter drops into the jungle.
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103 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Author Bill Peschel on June 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Back when Al Franken was a comedian and not a U.S. senator, he did a bit on "Saturday Night Live" in which he would describe some major event and end by asking, "how does this affect me, Al Franken?"

That, to me, is the stupid heart of the stunt memoir, those books in which the author undertakes a challenge outside his or her comfort zone, and then reports back on what it means to him. Such memoirs start with the assumption that the author is much more interesting than whatever they're doing (usually false) and that just become something interesting happens to them makes them even more interesting (always false).

Thankfully, Mark Adams doesn't participate in that nonsense. Although "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" starts with a similar elevator pitch ' "travel magazine copy editor gets out from behind his desk to explore Incan ruins in Peru" ' he comes back with a book that looks more outward than inward. Like a "Seinfeld" episode, there's no learning and no hugging.

Adams uses three narrative threads to weave his story, starting with the Incans and their fatal encounters with the Spanish invaders during the 1500s. It's not a pretty story, starting with the most commonly known story of Francisco Pizarro and Atahualpa, in which the Incan emperor promised a room full of gold in return for his freedom, an offer which Pizarro accepted and then reneged on by having Atahualpa strangled

Over the next three decades, subsequent Incan ruler moved between building new capitals in the jungle and raiding the Spanish. The Spanish responded with raids and various atrocities until, in 1572, they declared all-out war on the rebel Incan state. The empire dissolved when its last ruler, Tupac Amaru, was captured and executed.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Tegan on July 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mark Adams became interested in the story of Hiram Bingham after all the news coverage when it was learned that he wasn't really the discoverer of Machu Picchu. And eventually Adams decided to walk in Bingham's footsteps, following the trails he took, and see Peru the way Bingham had. This book is essentially a travelogue that explores both Adams' and Bingham's journeys, and reflects on what both of them did and learned in Peru.

The writing style is engaging enough to make this an easy and comfortable read. It slips a little when Adams gives us too much about his own life, coming perilously close to "too much information" territory without ever quite falling off the edge. He manages to cram a lot of detail into the narrative without becoming monotonous. At times I almost felt I was there in the jungle or high mountain passes with him because his descriptions conjured up familiar sensations. Adams also ventures into political territory at times to explain events, and does so effectively and without strong bias. Although it's easy to tell from the text that Adams is passionate about the subject, his writing manages to be dispassionate enough to make him a trusted narrator of events.

The galley I read did not have any images and was missing the index, although there was a space for it. The book did include a very nice glossary and a timeline of events in Peru. I could also have used a bibliography of all the texts mentioned in the narrative, many of which I felt like reading after Adams described them so enthusiastically (Note: bibliography is in the finished book).

I'd recommend this one to anyone interested in South American history, anyone who loves a good adventure tale, and anyone who wants to go on a trip to Machu Picchu. It's a nice solid read, and worth checking out.
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