Peru: travel books to read before you go

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This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Peru guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

Inca LandInca Land: Explorations in the Highlands of Peru, by Hiram Bingham, is the classic traveler’s tale. The book was first published in 1922, a little more than a decade after the American author ‘discovered’ the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

The White RockThe White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland, by Hugh Thomson, describes a filmmaker’s search for hidden archaeological sites throughout the Peruvian Andes and Bolivia. It includes a lot of background on earlier travelers and explorers.

At Play in the Fields of the LordAt Play in the Fields of the Lord, by Peter Matthiessen, is a classic, superb and true-to-life novel about the conflicts between the forces of ‘development’ and indigenous peoples in the Amazon jungle.

Trail of FeathersTrail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru, by Tahir Shah, is an amusing tall tale about what lies behind the ‘birdmen’ legends of the Peruvian desert, eventually leading the author to a tribe of cannibals in the Amazon.

Related article: Spain: travel books to read before you go

Cut Stones and CrossroadsCut Stones and Crossroads: A Journey in the Two Worlds of Peru, by Ronald Wright, is a comprehensive journey through some of Peru’s ancient cities and archaeological sites, and it comes with helpful guides to Quechua terminology and traditional Andean music.

Eight Feet in the AndesEight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Donkey from Ecuador to Cuzco, by Dervla Murphy, is an insightful, witty travelogue of this peripatetic travel writer’s 2000km journey with her daughter through remote regions, ending at Machu Picchu.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.