Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review - Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Turn Right at Machu Picchu
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering The Lost City One Step At A Time by Mark Adams.

Release date: June 30, 2011, pre-order now! I got my advance copy via NetGalley.

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.

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.


mark said...

Hi Tegan, this is Mark Adams, the author. Just wanted to thank you for reading and let you know that the finished book will indeed have photos, an index and a bibliography, as well as some terrific maps (for which I can take little or no credit).

See you in Peru.


Tegan said...

Excellent. The Bibliography was the only one I wasn't sure of, and the maps would definitely add to the experience. I'm going to have to get a copy when this book comes out.

James Byrne said...

I can't wait to read this book.

James Byrne said...

This book arrived through the post and I immediately started to read it. I read 7 chapters right through and I didn't want to stop but had an appointment. Its factual, amusing and highly entertaining so far. I strongly recommend this book if you are going to Machu Picchu this year.

Trips to Machu Picchu said...

I can't wait to read this! I'm going to Machu Picchu in a couple months and I definitely need to get a copy of this.