Book Review: The Last Days of the Incas

There are many books written on the Incas, and it can be a challenge sifting through the Last Days of the Incasplethora of books out there.  Perusing  Kindle samples (which I love) helps but can sometimes take time. However, this book, The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie, pulled me in immediately. Part of my rationale for choosing this book over the many other books was that it was not written by explorers claiming to have found Inca ruins, and MacQuarrie is a four-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and an anthropologist.  If you have any interest in what happened to the Incas, the brutal takeover by the Spanish as well as three American explorers of Peru, this is a well researched and written book with a focus on the thirty-six year war between the Incas and Spanish.

MacQuarrie’s detailed account of the events during this war is woven into a fascinating story.  The book kept my attention throughout the roughly 540 pages as it reads more like a novel and has a number of interesting characters- the brutal and ruthless Pizarro brothers, the Inca emperors, Pachacuti, Manco, Atahualpa and his brother, Huascar.   And there is an added bonus towards the end of the book where MacQuarrie transitions from the thirty-six year war to the trials and tribulations of three American explorers (Hiram Bingham, Gene Savoy and Vincent Lee) who rediscovered various Inca ruins.  This section of the book was another fascinating read about the cutthroat explorer business.  This is a must read, in my opinion, for anyone planning to visit Cusco, Peru and the Inca trail and ruins.


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