Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

Mark Adams. Dutton, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-95224-4
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. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-101-53410-6
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