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

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  4,883 ratings  ·  687 reviews
What happens when an adventure travel expert-who's never actually done anything adventurous-tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?

July 24, 1911, was a day for the history books. For on that rainy morning, the young Yale professor Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and encountered an ancient city in the clouds: the now famous c...more
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published June 30th 2011 by Dutton Adult (first published January 1st 2011)
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Librariasaurus
I really enjoyed this book. And now I want to go to Machu Picchu.
You can definitely tell this was written by a journalist, but Mark Adams had fun writing this book.
As with many adventure travel stories, you can feel yourself going along for every step of the journey. Adam's writing makes you sympathise. You can feel every bead of sweat, every ache of sunburn, you can taste the coca and you know exactly how it feels to get blistered toes because you forgot the rule of mountaineering: Always wea...more
Rose
Sep 24, 2013 Rose rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rose by: Erma Aker
What a fun filled, laugh out loud romp through history as travel writer mark Adams follows the footsteps of the so called discoverer of Machu Picchu. Mark Adams quits his day job, hires some very interesting, characters and sets out to hike to Machu Picchu. His travel guide is an Australian survivalist, Jon, who very much resembles Crocodile Dundee. A very scrappy interesting man who I would love to see write his own book on his life time of adventures in places people would only dream of ever s...more
Gerry Claes
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...more
Susy
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 1911 he decided to follow. Along for the trek and leading the way...more
Jason Golomb
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 adve...more
Jim
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. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time is a welcome exception to that sad rule. The author, Mark Adams, spent much of his life writing for outdoor magazines, but never had caught the travel bug himself ... until he decided to visit in person and on foot the Inca cities clustered north of Cuzco.

It help...more
David
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams is an adventure travelogue, a history of Peru, Machu Picchu, & various expeditions, and an investigation of allegations against explorer Hiram Bingham III.

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...more
Deidre
Recently out in paperback, Turn Right At Machu Picchu is a uniquely charming travel tale. When Mark Adams, a travel editor in New York city decides he needs an adventure of his own he doesn't start small. Instead he heads to Peru to trace the path of Hiram Bingham III, the explorer famous for the discovery of Machu Picchu. Adams, a mostly desk-bound sort, faces the epic journey with charmingly told trepidation. He begins the book by interspersing tales of Bingham's life with sections of personal...more
Connie Greenleaf
Mark Adams’ Turn Right At Machu Picchu was a temporary lapse on my part from my decision to read only Indian writers this year, or books written about India. Whatever, I bought it at an Indian bookstore, so that counts, right? This is one of those books that is so delightful and funny that you find yourself walking around your home following a person who you are reading aloud to. Then you laugh again, and get back at it. But it’s not JUST funny. It’s one of the most approachable books with a ver...more
Kim
I have always had a love of ancient (and not quite so ancient) civilisations as well as a dream to travel the world. Machu Picchu has always been near the top of my list to places to go and, knowing that, my wife gave me this book.

It is about a long-time travel writing editor who finally decides to go on a journey of his own. He settles on Machu Picchu as it, and it's American "discoverer", was back in the news, as well as his wife and her family being Peruvian. But instead of just visiting the...more
edj
One hundred years ago on July 24, 1911, explorer and Yale lecturer Hiram Bingham excitedly cabled the US from Peru about his discovery of an ancient site, potentially the “lost city of the Incas.” That site was Machu Picchu, or “the old peak” in the local language of Quechua, a city of architectural grandeur and ancient temples. Now in 2011, his claim is disputed, and he is accused of stealing historical artifacts and trumpeting up a “discovery” of something that was never actually lost. But the...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mark Adams decides to trace the journey of the man who claimed to "discover" Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham, and takes a very strenuous hike through Peru. This book chronicles that journey, as well as a return trip he took to hike the "Inca Trail."

If Adams had only written about his own journey, I'm not sure it would have been that interesting. He has worked in travel writing, albeit more as an armchair editor than a traveler, for years. He had connections to help him prepare, research, and advise...more
Fanficfan44
I read this book for a book club I belong to that is currently following a travel theme. The book follows Mark Adams as he retraces the steps of Bingham, the explorer/adventurer/professor who “discovered” Machu Picchu, on the 100 year anniversary of the discovery. This should have been a great travel adventure but there were some issues with the book. Mark Adams tells his present day story interspersed with Hiram Bingham’s original tale and then with tales from Pissaro and the Conquistadors. The...more
Grace Komjakraphan
Machu Picchu was ON the list, but after reading this book, THE INCA TRAIL is on the list.
Chris
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.
IT’s a wonderful travel log, interspersed with history. Adams has a great since of humor.
John Frazier
This is essentially an adventure about an adventures, wherein "outdoor" writer Mark Adams attempts to recreate the steps taken in 1911 by explorer Hiram Bingham, who laid claim to "discovering" the lost Incan empire of Machu Picchu. I saw Adams months ago on The Daily Show hyping this book, and part of what appealed to me at the time was his admission that he couldn't actually remember the last time he slept in a tent. (How this lands him a job as an editor of an adventure magazine may be anothe...more
Penny Ramirez
This was a fun read, and I wish I'd been able to indulge in one long sitting, instead of the bits and pieces I had to snatch here and there.

Adams was the editor of Outdoor magazine, but hadn't really been much of an outdoorsman himself. Married to a native of Peru, he finally decided that one day he really really needed to see Machu Picchu for himself, but not just as a tourist - he wanted to follow in the footsteps of the man who "discovered" MP for the western world, Hiram Bingham. Adams hired...more
Quinby6696 Frank
I was a history major, but never had much interest in South American history - just memorized facts about Cortez, Pissarro, and the lot and forgot all of it after the exam. I always mixed up the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. I'd never heard of Hiram Bingham. This book changed that. It was a fascinating history/cum travelogue/cum memoir written by Mark Adams, an armchair travel writer who longed for some of the adventures he wrote about but never experienced. He decided to literally follow in Bingha...more
Cleffairy
Reviewed at: Library of Lights
Review date: 15 April 2012
Review link: http://mykindaland.com/?p=508

I’m a huge fangirl of the fictional archeologist cum adventurer, Indiana Jones. And when I requested this book ‘Turn Right at Machu Pichu’, I was expecting something like Indiana Jones to be written within the pages. But boy, was I wrong. There’s nothing like Indiana Jones in there, but I was not disappointed. It was the other way around.

This book is an absolutely delightful read with plenty of quir...more
Itasca Community Library
Jeff says:

Besides being a history of Machu Picchu in Inca times and in Hiram Bingham’s time of discovery, this also gives a fascinating view of Peruvian life and culture which includes the concept of Peruvian time which usually means a few hours or days later than expected and exaggerated stories of siphoned fat from murder victims sold to cosmetic companies. These hilarious stories offset the serious history lessons and the grueling trek across the various climate and terrain of Peru to possibl...more
Kate Z
I'm not much of a non fiction reader but Machu Picchu is definitely on my "bucket list" so I was interested in reading this book. Adams follows (or tries to) the route/journey of Hiram Bingham - said to be the earliest "western" discoverer of Machu Picchu. There are long sections of history concerning Bingham and his credentials and digressions into the politics of the discovery as well.

It's sad to say but, as with most non-fiction I read, I find myself wanting more of the "cliff notes" and les...more
Kris Hintz
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...more
Erma Aker
Excellent book about the history and mystery surrounding Machu Picchu and the other Incan sites in the area. Here's how ignorant I was; I didn't even KNOW there were other Inca sites in the area; that Machu Picchu is just one of many that are all interconnected by astronomy and their worship of the sun and mountains. The author traces the route of the Englshman who "discovered" Machu Picchu and some of the other sites, explains both the history of Mr. Bingham's exploration of trails and sites an...more
Jenn Steidley
I went to Peru in the Summer of 2012, and while I was there, I was asked if I had read this book. Obviously, I had not. Thus, when I got back to the US, I decided that I would start to read it. 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...more
Carrie
I cannot finish this book. It's a good thing the chapters are short or I wouldn't have gotten half way through. However, I've had it with the author's writing style. The subject is interesting; the author is following in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham III, long credited with the rediscovery of Machu Picchu. The author's guide is a colorful Aussie and it would be great to get to know him better, but the author doesn't seem that interested in telling us more than "he's a really interesting guy". I...more
Alan
A quite good travel book about following in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham III who with his photographs and National Geographic article popularized Machu Picchu. Adams alternates chapters about his journey with chapters about Bingham's explorations, misconceptions and "discoveries". Humorous descriptions and learned discussions.
Sherri
My friend had some books she was giving away and this one seemed interesting. After several weeks of not wanting to pick it back up and seeing it just sit there on my Good Reads currently reading list I had to just give up on it. I enjoyed it when I was reading it most of the time but I found going back into the history so much became boring to me. I learned things I did not know and wish I could have stuck with it but I have way to many other books to read. If you like travel books, a lot of hi...more
Sook-Yi
This book sounded promising. However, I was unable to get into the author's writing style, particularly with him switching back and forth between Hiram Bingham III's journey to Machu Picchu and his own journey of mapping Bingham's steps. For his part of the journey, I don't think he did the place justice as he sort of skipped the finer details. Unlike Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," I didn't feel like I was actually trekking the Inca Trail with the author. It just wasn't a very engaging read. That bein...more
Emily
Very interesting and accessible account of traveling to Macchu Picchu through Peru. My favorite quote was by Johan Reinhard: "Macchu Picchu is sort of like the Inca cosmos written on the landscape." Second favorite quote was by the author: "I wasn't exactly sure what to say. On the one hand, I'd always found Paolo to be unimpeachably well informed about Macchu Picchu. On the other, well, as far as I know, Emily Post never addressed the subject of how to keep the conversational ball rolling when...more
David Ward
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Discovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams (Dutton 2011)(985.37) is the story of how a 21st century writer did his best to faithfully retrace the path of the noted Victorian explorer Hiram Bingham through Peru to the summit at Machu Picchu. Some of the book reads like a heart-pounding adventure tale, but not much of it. I expected to love this book; it dovetails nicely with some of my greatest fantasies. However, the narrative never rose to that level....more
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“The ability to arrive uninvited in an alien land and convince one’s hosts that almost everything they believe is wrong requires a rather forceful personality.” 1 likes
“I felt bad for lying to John, who was about as honest as Abe Lincoln on sodium Pentothal.” 1 likes
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