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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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  15,936 ratings  ·  1,694 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
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published June 30th 2011 by Dutton Adult
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Mike H Not love in the romantic sense, but rather, a deep respect. There's a terrible shortage of men born of iron these days. We've lost our way due to comf…moreNot love in the romantic sense, but rather, a deep respect. There's a terrible shortage of men born of iron these days. We've lost our way due to comfort, convenience, and no real obstacle to overcome. Should we be so fortunate as to find ourselves in the company of someone who has remained untouched by the luxury and complacence of today, we hold them with great reverence and no small amount of admiration. Deep down, there's a voice inside us saying "That's what I want to be because that's what I was."(less)

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Jul 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2015
Why did it take 250 pages for Mark Adams to admit Machu Picchu was never lost?

The indigenous peoples of Peru knew of it the entire time.

Why did Mark Adams take so long to build up the beauty and importance of the Inca, only to never spend a sentence on the modern day Inca, those who descended from the original peoples by building lives in the jungle?

Why couldn't Adams censure Yale for keeping artifacts when they really, really shouldn't?

Why was he so fascinated with Bingham, explorer of 100 year
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
If the most mediocre man in New York can get a job as an editor for a travel magazine even though the most travel he'd ever done was flying to see family and staying with them or in a nice hotel and that same non-outdoorsy man can then hike through Peru without dying (I really hope he gives the muleteers and the cook and the porters and everyone who kept him alive during that time super nice Christmas gifts every year) and then write a book about Incan culture despite not being an anthropol
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-book-club
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
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author, Mark Adams, retraces the steps that led Yale Professor, Hiram Bingham, to discover Machu Picchu one hundred years ago, on July 24, 1911.

The chapters more or less alternate between Bingham’s and Adams’ expeditions. Adams packs a lot of information into the book. 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
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
Grace Komjakraphan
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Machu Picchu was ON the list, but after reading this book, THE INCA TRAIL is on the list.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, peru
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
In Turn Right at Machu Picchu Mark Adams interweaves his own adventure treks to important Inca sites in and around Machu Picchu - under the expert guidance of Australian John Leivers (and, on the Incan Trial, Ephrain Valles) - with Hiram Bingham’s Peruvian expeditions and controversial discovery of Machu Picchu as well as with the history of the Incas both before and after the Spanish invasion.

With a light, and often humorous touch, Adams covers over 500 years of Incan history, major Inca sites
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. Turn Right at Machu Picchu is a warm-hearted, funny and entertaining account of Adams' journeys in a remote part of Peru to retrace the steps of Hiram Bingham III, the 'discoverer' of the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. It is also an affectionate portrait of a remarkable man, John Leivers, the Australian ex- ...more
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.
Gerry Claes
Jan 09, 2012 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 ...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
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 adv
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
One of my greatest dreams is to visit Machu Picchu and I was excited to read this book but my enthusiasm waned with each page.

I'm kind of in love with Bill Bryson. Reading his books about his traveling experiences gives me immense pleasure. He's hilarious, informative and entertaining as hell. If I were to describe the author of this book, I would call him a "Bill Bryson wannabe."

The author tried to be humorous, but while Bryson's humor is mostly self-deprecative, most of Adams' humor is used
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: Susan
Shelves: history, summer2016
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 300-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.

An accurate summary: "Intrigued by tales that Aurita had told me of even greater wonders along the Inca Trail, my friend a
Sep 26, 2012 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 1911 he decided to follow. Along for the trek and leading the way ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
A nicely written account of the author's journey to Macchu Picchu to retrace the steps of the Yale professor, explorer, Hiram Bingham. The book recounts Bingham's travels as well as his own. Definitely worth the read. I listened to the book and it was narrated well. ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 peop
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kris Hintz
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
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
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: exotic, nonfiction
A fun armchair adventure into mysterious Machu Picchu with a "regular guy" along with some interesting history of its "discoverer" as well as the Inca people. I really enjoyed the current-day adventure but found the historical chapters to be a little on the dry side...or maybe they were just a little too long. ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story and wonderful account of Machu Picchu. Excellently researched, very well written, and a page turner to boot! I'll have my eye out for a print copy so I can see some of the photos in color. Recommended! ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Here’s how to write a great history/exploration book: do tons of research on an explorer, put it in writing, and then re-create the adventure. Adams did it perfectly.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

It's most interesting to read this book if you've ever visited Peru. If you've been there, then you've almost certainly been to Cusco, former seat of the Inca Empire and gateway to Machu Picchu, and to Machu Picchu itself, as they're considered non-optional stops for any tourist trip to Peru. I'm sure it's an even more interesting read if you've ever hiked any part of the “Inca Trail,” which I haven't. It's fun to recognize the names of places you've been (for me, it w
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