He includes anecdotes, observations and sometimes he tosses in hilarious tidbits. He also includes information on the flora and fauna as well as Inca history of the area. He also describes what it is like today. I picked up a bit of trivia: The author does an okay job with intertwining three separate plots. This is available on CD or on line for members.
It was great to hike the Inca trail without doing the physical work and deal with the mosquitoes. Andrew Garman does a good job narrating the book. Garman is an actor and audiobook narrator.
Jan 14, Grace Komjakraphan rated it really liked it. Dec 16, MaryG2E rated it really liked it Shelves: I greatly enjoyed this well-written travel adventure by Mark Adams. A New York resident, Adams worked for many years in travel publishing, and his writing style reflects his journalistic skills. It is also an affectionate portrait of a remarkable man, John Leivers, the Australian ex- I greatly enjoyed this well-written travel adventure by Mark Adams. It is also an affectionate portrait of a remarkable man, John Leivers, the Australian ex-pat guide, with his laconic style, meticulous planning and profound knowledge of the Inca sites around Cusco.
It is largely thanks to Leivers' skills that Adams survives, humping his heavy backpack hundreds of kilometres in rugged mountain countryside to re-visit the numerous locations identified by Bingham a century earlier. Even before the end of his long life, Bingham's claims to have discovered the lost capital city of the last Inca Emperor were being disputed.
His reputation was also tarnished by allegations of looting Peruvian national treasures. His highly-readable book Lost City of the Incas captured the public imagination, and he remained a hero in popular culture, despite the misgivings voiced in academia. One of Adams' self-appointed tasks was to examine the criticisms, to see if they hold up today. He also wanted to see with Bingham's eyes the nature of the landscape and the endeavours of the lost Inca empire. I think he succeeded very well - the structure of his narrative swings between chapters about Bingham's original journeys and accounts of his own experiences hiking along rough trails in the company of a bevy of quirky characters.
Author: Mark Adams
If there is one key character in this book that never talks, but speaks volumes, it is the stunning beauty and grandeur of the landscapes in which the adventurers travel. With the expertise of Leivers at his elbow, Adams gradually came to the realisation that the Incas viewed their environment on a grand scale, which embraced and interconnected large areas of the landscape in an harmonious and spiritual domain.
His final steps on the Inca Trail revealed to him the magnificence of that vision, lost over year earlier with the bloody Spanish invasion. I had previously read Bingham's book Lost City of the Incas , and it greatly added to my reading enjoyment, to recognise sections of the original text being discussed by the modern-day author.
A great self-promoter, Bingham's claims need to be viewed cautiously nowadays. Despite this, Adams gives full credit to the original adventurer in terms of his scientific methodology and meticulous planning. While Machu Picchu has been comprehensively disproved as the last capital city of the Incas, it remains a magnificent testament to the powers of that lost culture.
Jun 12, AngryGreyCat rated it it was ok Shelves: I read this book for a book club I belong to that is currently following a travel theme. This should have been a great travel adventure but there were some issues with the book.
The I read this book for a book club I belong to that is currently following a travel theme. The switching back and forth is done erratically and is often disruptive. He seemed like a fascinating person and I would probably have loved a story about him. There is also information about the controversies surrounding Machu Picchu and antiquities in general that was all very interesting.
It seems to me that the book had an identity crisis. It tries to be a little bit of everything, a biography of Hiram Bingham, a travelogue, a historical text of Peru, and some ethics essays about antiquities. In trying to do too much , if succeeds at nothing. May 23, Jeanette rated it it was amazing Shelves: With a light, and often humorous touch, Adams covers over years of Incan history, major Inca sites such as Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Vitcos, Vilcabamba, Choquequirao, Llactatpata and, of course, Machu Picchu itself once in October and then in June, at the Winter solstice.
He canvases theories and controversies, tracks down elusive experts, treks up and down precipitous and sometimes jungle-choked trails, admires Incan monuments and mountain landscapes and brings to life the people he interacts with and the Incas, who build the timeless cities with exquisite skill and imagination.
Maps, glossaries, photographs, timeline and index is included for easy reference. His style unlike Bingham's apparently is engaging and easy to read. This is a great book for the scholar, the traveller or just anyone who is fascinated by the sublime beauty and mystery of Machu Picchu. Sep 01, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: Most travel books tend to be rather mediocre: There is no sense of wonder, no reason why anyone would envy the traveler and dream of following in his footsteps.
The author, Mark Adams , spent much of his life writing for outdoor magazines, but never had caught the travel bug himself It help Most travel books tend to be rather mediocre: It helped being married to a Peruvian woman, but it was the author himself who found himself a capable guide -- an Aussie named John Leivers -- who was both a personable traveling companion and an extremely knowledgeable one.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
Throughout his book, Adams cuts back and forth to Bingham's own experiences a hundred years ago. Whether Bingham actually discovered Machu Picchu was immaterial: It was his promotion of the Inca sites, with the help of Gilbert Grosvenor of National Geographic magazine that helped preserve dozens of ruins for posterity, together with his book The Lost City of the Incas. Again it doesn't matter whether it was "lost" or not. Bingham helped to make sure it never would be lost. I myself hope to visit Peru next year, and I luckily chose this book as the first step in a rather extensive reading program.
Because of my age, I will never take the Inca Trail, or climb to Machu Picchu or any of the other Inca mountain cities or shrines. Whether or not you are interested in going to Peru, you will find yourself feeling a sense of wonder as you read these pages. An excellent read not only for real travelers, but also the armchair variety. Jan 09, Gerry Claes rated it liked it. For most of my life I have been fascinated with Machu Picchu and have always had a desire to hike to this famous lost city of the Inca's.
My daughter who is 33 years younger than me hiked to Machu Picchu a few years ago and the two of us have a competitive history of visiting the most locations. I have her beat in states 48 to 46 but she left me in the dust a number of years ago in number of foreign countries visited. I decided to read this book to live my daughter's hike vicariously and perha For most of my life I have been fascinated with Machu Picchu and have always had a desire to hike to this famous lost city of the Inca's.
I decided to read this book to live my daughter's hike vicariously and perhaps a hike to Machu Picchu is still in my future. The book tells the story in two different times. Mark Adams decided to retrace Hiram Bingham's " expedition in the early 's when he "discovered" Machu Picchu. Bingham ended up taking some relics from the sight that he gave to Yale University and the battle by Peru to recoup these "stolen" goods is covered in the book.
Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
I found the book quite interesting but I must admit that the names of some of the sites and Inca leaders caused me some confusion. Same goes for some of the Inca emperors, Atahualpa could become "Ata" and Manco Inca Yupanqui could become "Yuppie" This would have made it much easier for me to keep track of everything and I am sure the Peruvians would be quite agreeable to these changes.
The book is a good adventure read and if you have any interest in Machu Picchu I think you will find it most enjoyable. I found Mark Adam's guide John Leivers a very interesting character. I think a separate book could be written just about his life. Sep 26, Susy rated it liked it. At the suggestion of a friend who said she "was LOLing" while reading this book and praised it as being written in the manner of Bill Bryon's A Walk in the Woods, I decided to be an armchair traveller to Machu Picchu.
Adams does have the same self deprecating style as Bryson; he's an ah shucks writer about his own lack of skill, but let's face it - he made it to all the sites supposedly discovered by Hiram Bingham whose travels of he decided to follow. Along for the trek and leading the way At the suggestion of a friend who said she "was LOLing" while reading this book and praised it as being written in the manner of Bill Bryon's A Walk in the Woods, I decided to be an armchair traveller to Machu Picchu.
Along for the trek and leading the way is the requisite gruff but knowlegable guide as well as local porters who also serve as guides, interpretors and who can fend off any near disaster. He travelled in good company and the tales of the trek were by far my favorite part of the book. I occasionally got bogged down in the details of Bingham's explorations and Adams' attempts to validate his conquests. It was also difficult to keep track of all the place names but overall I'm impressed by Adams' research not to mention his ability to hike at elevation.
Still not interested in making the journey myself. The best thing about this book, besides the cover, is the fact that Adams, paradoxically, manages to demystify Macau Picu while making it an even powerful symbol of mystery and discover. Adams has a great since of humor. May 19, Jason Golomb rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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 adve Mark Adams' "Turn Right at Machu Picchu: 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 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.
Review: Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
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. 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. Adams trip was an uncompromising adventure. There were no soft train rides, or helicopter drops into the jungle. Adams hiked, slept in tents, climbed miles of off-the-beaten-path terrain, and used the same bathroom facilities as Bingham had almost years earlier - nature.
His only chance at being successful in this endeavor was to surround himself with quality guides and support. He emphasized when he hired his guide, experienced explorer and discoverer in his own right John Leivers, that he wanted his trip to be about walking in Bingham's footsteps. The real joy in reading "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" is the frank and insightful humor Adams embeds within his adventurous tales. While Leivers was his primary guide, Adams was surrounded by a colorful and interesting crowd, some of which speak only the ancient language of the Inca - quechua.
One guide genuinely feared a man-eating devil goat that guarded the entrance to a farm used as a campsite. Adams points out that rumors and ghosts are abound in Peru and particularly in the Andes where "the mischievous twins of Superstition and Legend tend to thrive. Adams finally strikes a note of commonality when a fairly severe bout of bowel issues made his adventurer guide reminisce about his own time with the same problem. He takes seemingly meaningless interactions and with only a few words turns them into something substantive, funny and culturally eye-opening. This is the code, indecipherable to North Americans, by which Peruvians determine the latest possible moment that it is acceptable to arrive for an appointment.
The statement "I'll be right back" can mean just that, or it can mean that the speaker is about to depart via steamship for Cairo. The habit drove Bingham bananas and hasn't improved over time, despite a widespread government campaign to combat tardiness a few years ago. Where Bingham went, so went Adams. What Adams sees, so wrote the famed explorer. Throughout the book, Adams provides a very smartly written and readable examination of Bingham's extensive and dramatic expeditions.
His chapters are short and each thread of his story - his own travel, the history of the Inca Conquest and Bingham's parallel journeys - are woven as seamlessly, intricately and colorfully as a prototypical Andean poncho. In Adams' parallels with Inca history, he points out the difficulty in separating fact from fiction "because virtually all the sources available are Spanish accounts of stories that had already been vetted by the Inca emperors to highlight their own heroic roles.
Imagine a history of modern Iraq, written by Dick Cheney and based on authorized biographies of Saddam Hussein published in Arabic, and you'll get some idea of the problem historians face. It was the last Inca holdout that Bingham was seeking. The historical record is confusing, but consistently pointed to a location called Vilcabamba. It was unclear whether Vilcabamba was a town, city, or region, and Bingham's search was further muddied by the historical record pointing to several "final" Inca strongholds.
But search he did, and Adams followed. The first major site on Adams' agenda was Choquequiro, known as the "Cradle of Gold".
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The site is far less accessible than Machu Picchu despite stop-and-start initiatives by the Peruvian government to create easier tourist access through the Peruvian jungle. It's estimated that only percent of the site has been cleared and Adams quotes his guide Leivers suggesting that "When this is all cleared, it'll be one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams
Leivers and his ever-present handheld GPS would pinpoint locations of buildings and objects throughout the trip and started to pull together the connective thread of the regions' ruins. Upon climbing to the mountain peak that overlooks the Machu Picchu ruins, Adams wrote, "I had to admit when I Adams followed miles of Inca trail throughout his trip, but needed a second trip with Leivers to explore the Inca Trail itself, and discover the trails' relationship with Machu Picchu.
The Inca Trail is dotted with ruins of various sizes. Each ruin, whether placed within a terraced valley, or providing a dramatic overlook across jungle and mountains, in its own way, builds dramatically to the point at which it connects with Machu Picchu. As Leivers and Adams started their ascent of Mount Machu Picchu, Leivers starts to make a walking stick for himself, but finds that he's left his large hunting knife at their hotel in Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Adams unzipped his pack, dug around for a moment and then handed his knife to Leivers. The world-wide traveler and adventurer who's led trips across deserts and mountains said "That's good preparation, Mark. Nice sharp blade on it, too. May 30, Caroline rated it liked it Recommended to Caroline by: I was expecting to read about a first-time hiker's experience on the Inca Trail. Instead, I found myself in the middle of a page bromance. I liked hearing about Mark's trip, and getting to know John, and learning about Hiram Bingham, and hearing how Mark met his wife, and reading some of the theories about Macchu Picchu's significance, but maybe not all in the same book.
I looked across the water toward Peru and vowed to return one day. Then an old man with a cane picked my pocket. Even though I wasn't crazy about the construction, I would still recommend to people who hope to hike the Inca Trail. He does have some good tips buried in there. Take bus to Santa Maria, transfer to smaller bus at Santa Teresa, flag down combi bus to train station and Hidroelectrica and walk along the tracks.
Oct 01, edj rated it it was amazing. Mark Adams, working a desk job editing adventure travel stories, decided to find out the truth for himself, at least as much as possible. I really, really liked this book. Although I was thankful for the historical parts which gave me background, my favorite parts were the first person travels.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story of his travels all over Peru, and the characters with whom he was traveling. First off, there was Australian guide John Leivers, who wears the same clothes every day no matter the weather, always has a machete on hand, and has no permanent address. He just has a different way of looking at the world, due to his experience of it. Then there were the muleteers and cooks, with their coca leaves to combat altitude sickness and bags of sweet snacks and sugary soft drinks, telling crazy tales and responding to events with stoicism and humour.
There are the people he meets along the way, both locals and other travelers. I loved the story of the two Quechua kids, asking Adams where he was from. Because, although I have confessed to enjoying the modern bits best, the history is actually fascinating—gory and bloodstained and full of excitement, lots of double-crossing from both sides, fleeing Inca warriors and kings, and pursuing Spainards in search of legendary gold. Adams is a good writer, and he makes his subject matter live, infusing all with a subtle humour and wry turn of phrase.
Mar 21, David rated it really liked it Shelves: As an adventure travelogue, Turn Left is highly successful due to Adams' insightful, clever writing, based on meticulous research, and his subtle, self deprecating humor. The short chapters keep the tale moving along, as do the honest portraits of the Turn Right at Machu Picchu: The short chapters keep the tale moving along, as do the honest portraits of the people he meets, along with guide John Leivers, explorer Juvenal, and the muleteers who accompany Adams.
I frequently burst into laughter while reading this. I found the points about Machu Picchu as the central one of many interrelated sites insightful. Adams weaves the history of the Incas, the Spanish Conquest, more recent Peruvian history, and the travels of Bingham and other explorers into a very readable account.
The gore in the Inca and Spanish sections may both repel and fascinate. The difficulty of place names and given names is somewhat alleviated by the six page glossary which I referred to often. I would suggest reading this glossary first before reading the book to begin to get names and places into your head. Four pages of maps at the front, a chronology at the back, and the index will help readers.
A note on sources and a selected bibliography give those interested in further reading many options. Adams gives a balanced account of Bingham's explorations, actions and writings. Bingham gave himself too much credit in some writings, was guilty of taking artifacts, tried to do to much sometimes, and made incorrect suppositions at times. Bingham did, however, succeed in publicizing Machu Picchu, which ultimately helped keep it from being destroyed. I strongly recommend Turn Left to those who love history, particularly that of South America and those who enjoy travel adventure, especially if they enjoy Bill Bryson.
For geography, humor, Machu Picchu and fans of Mark Adams. I read this in preparation for my trip to Machu Picchu next week and I don't know that I would recommend getting it unless you have imminent plans to go there. Mark Adams is quite funny and I appreciate that it sounds like we have a similar fitness level mostly sedentary. But jokes aside, I found the narrative to be a bit rambly, jumping around from the locals' personal lives, to facts about Peru, to the history of Hiram Bingham III "discovering" the famous ruins. I love that I have a better un I read this in preparation for my trip to Machu Picchu next week and I don't know that I would recommend getting it unless you have imminent plans to go there.
I think it would have been better as a feature article, or at the very least should have been edited down because it felt like there was so much filler that didn't actually tell me anything. Curious about the Inca trail? Want to know what was up with Hiram Bingham? Like to read about places you're planning on seeing?
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If yes, pick this up. Otherwise, save it for another time. Apr 08, Marisa rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a book that couch- and world-travelers alike will enjoy. Adams does a fantastic job weaving history with his personal experiences in Peru. When wanderlust strikes, even the most unprepared are willing to start a new adventure — often with hilarious results. I particularly enjoyed reading this novel in advance of my own trip to Machu Picchu. I had learned a little about Machu Picch This is a book that couch- and world-travelers alike will enjoy. I had learned a little about Machu Picchu in school, this book does a good job explaining why many assumptions are wrong.
Most of all, this book will give you a sense of wonder and awe at the ancient architects who designed the ancient city and the surrounding area. Who should read it? Lovers of couch-traveling or anyone planning to go to Machu Picchu one day! See all my reviews and more at www. Mar 06, Kris Hintz rated it really liked it Shelves: I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Adams' book.
Part witty travelogue, part fascinating history, this book was the perfect way to prepare for my upcoming trip to Machu Picchu. I feel as though a good friend, with a journalist's skill, has given me every kind of background necessary to fully appreciate the journey. I gave it four stars instead of five, because there were some sections where the book did seem to drag. When the travelers were going through several different geo-climate zones in one day, it w I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Adams' book.
When the travelers were going through several different geo-climate zones in one day, it was hard to picture their full journey. A few maps would have given me a better picture of their trek, up and down mountains, through jungles, along rivers, and so forth.
If I were not so psyched about my own upcoming trip, I might have lost interest in the book half way through when the journey became confusing and circuitous, so a map would have clarified the route and kept my attention. All in all, a great book! Obviously, I had not. I experienced so many amazing things in Peru, and what I experienced at Machu Picchu was breathtaking and truly indescribable. I was hoping to retrieve done if those awe-inspiring feelings as I read this.
Instead, I was disappointed. The writing was lackluster and shifty. The bouncing through history appe I went to Peru in the Summer of , and while I was there, I was asked if I had read this book. The bouncing through history appeared awkward at times and uncomfortable at certain moments. I'm a huge history fan, and this seemed disjointed.
He didn't capture the essence of the culture, places, or spirituality at all. All of this describes exactly what I was wearing. Between my microfiber bwana costume and the bags of candy that [a Peruvian] kept foisting on me, I could have been trick-or-treating as Hemingway. He was game, though, so he set off from Cusco with Leivers, accompanied as well by a legendary Peruvian mule driver, a diminutive cook, a half-dozen mules and a couple of guys to drive them. As outlined by Leivers over breakfast, the trek looked manageable: For the big finish, all we had to do was follow the river and turn right at Machu Picchu.
This last part sounded like a pleasant afternoon stroll, something to kill a few hours and work up an appetite for dinner. Not merely is Inca history difficult to pin down, but Machu Picchu itself is an enduring mystery. A really elaborate granary? A spiritual portal to the fourth dimension, constructed by extraterrestrial stonemasons? Leivers had his own theory. Which is, of course, part of its allure.