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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

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  5,908 ratings  ·  797 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
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Hardcover, 333 pages
Published June 30th 2011 by Dutton Adult (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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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
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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
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
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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
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
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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
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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
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
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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
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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
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.
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Kay
So I'm mostly reading this because I'm planning a vacation to Peru. This is a helpful guide to the history of the trail, though probably less so for planning the trip. Still Adams does a great job of diving into Hiram Bingham's exploits (literally -- the Peruvian government is still trying to recover artifacts he took), who served up some of the real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones. Adams does a great job of giving you a feel for the hike and the connection with the local people. His guide wi ...more
Ash
I heard about Machu Picchu and saw its picture for the first time only after it was declared as one of the new seven wonders of the world. I then read "The Motorcycle Diaries" by Che Guevara and that was when I first learnt something about this marvelous place. I also got to read about the Inca empire and its decline thanks to that wonderful book. After reading that book, I got so intrigued about Inca empire and Machu Picchu that I had to watch couple of documentaries and read some articles onli ...more
John Orman
This book really brought back some wonderful memories of my 1989 trip to Machu Picchu!
Though the book is written in a pretty dry and academic style, not really delivering the excitement of Hiram Bingham's major 1911 find, nor does the book make Adam's subsequent adventurous trips retracing Bingham's steps look very challenging either.

The book does describe Peru, the Inca culture, and the mysteries of Machu Picchu, showing that Adams is at least a diligent researcher. The train ride along the Uru
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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
Susan
I still remember a day, about 35 years ago, when I opened up my 3rd grade social studies book and was greeted with a large photo of Machu Picchu. I recall staring at the picture and thinking it was pretty much the coolest thing ever (well, tying perhaps with the atoll that was diagrammed in an adjoining chapter). To think that such a place could exist just made my mind spin. It was so much … bigger than my town, even though my town was admittedly full of great things, like the Dairy Delite and t ...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
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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
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
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Bill Thompson
I'm a big fan of Machu Picchu in general and I've always bought the story that Hiram Bingham "discovered" the place and was a hero for doing it. Mark Adams tackles the question of whether that's right. What's even better is how entertaining he makes his journey. He takes the same pathways Hiram Bingham did to get to Machu Picchu, and what happens along the way makes for a very fun read. He's a good story-teller on a subject I love.
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
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Marisa
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. There were many things on my trip I remembered from the book and it was neat to see contrast of the old/new. I had learned a little about Machu Picch ...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
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
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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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