What happens when an unadventurous adventure writer tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?
In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and 'discovered' Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archaeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer's perilous path in search of the truth—except Adams had written about adventure far more than he'd actually lived it. In fact, he'd never even slept in a tent.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu is Adams's fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the world's most majestic, historic and remote landscapes guided only by a hard-as-nails Australian survivalist and one nagging question: what was the purpose of Machu Picchu?
Mark Adams is the author of the acclaimed history Mr. America, which The Washington Post named a Best Book of 2009. A writer for many publications, including GQ, Outside and The New York Times, he lives near New York City with his wife and children.
'An engaging and sometimes hilarious book.' New York Times Book Review
'[An] entirely delightful book.' Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
'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
'Mark Adams crisscrossed the Andes and has returned with a superb and important tale of adventure and archeology.' Sebastian Junger , author of The Perfect Storm
Journalist Adams, whose previous Mr. America was an entertaining rediscovery of the life of early 20th-century fitness guru Bernard Macfadden, explores the weird crevasses of American exploration. In this fascinating history/travelogue, Adams looks at the work of Hiram Bingham III, who became a national sensation after he "discovered" the ancient city of Machu Picchu in July 1911. To celebrate the centennial of Bingham's discovery, Adams attempts to follow Bingham's exact footsteps through the Andes Mountains of Peru, with two clear goals: to figure out "how Bingham had gotten to Machu Picchu in the first place" and, in the face of recent claims that he had illegally smuggled artifacts out of the country, to understand the broader story of Bingham's "all-consuming attempt to solve the mystery of why such a spectacular granite city had been built in such a spellbinding location." Adams successfully weaves Bingham's tales as well as resuscitating Bingham's positive reputation and accomplishments into his own description of difficult but often amusing travels with his companions, a rugged Australian survivalist and four local mule tenders, which climaxes with an amazing visual moment that happens only once a year at Machu Picchu on the morning of the winter solstice.
A good read
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it was a good mix of history and adventure. The authors approach to telling the story appealed greatly to me and At times I felt as though I was on the journey with him.