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Peru Bibliography


Aveni, Anthony. Between the Lines: The Mystery of the Giant Ground Drawings of Ancient Nasca, Peru (University of Texas Press, 2000). Anthropologist Aveni explores the varied theories of the existence of Peru's Nazca lines.

Bingham, Hiram. Lost City of the Incas (Phoenix Press, 2003). Bingham's travels to Machu Picchu in 1911 brought the existence of the Inca city to the world's attention. Edited by Hugh Thomson, this is an illustrated edition of Bingham's 1948 account of his expedition.

Burger, Richard. ChavĂ­n and the Origins of the Andean Civilization (Thames and Hudson, 1995). An excellent overview of the ancient ChavĂ­n culture, which stretched across the northern highlands of Peru from 900-200 B.C.

Burt, Jo-Marie. Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru: Silencing Civil Society. An award-winning exploration of the destruction caused by the Shining Path insurgency in Peru during the 1980s and 1990s.

Crabtree, John; Thomas, Jim. Fujimori's Peru: The Political Economy (Institute of Latin American Studies, 1998). A comprehensive evaluation of Peruvian economics and politics in the 1990s.

Frost, Peter. Exploring Cusco (Nuevas Imagenes S.A, 1999). One of the best examinations of Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, containing detailed historical information of the area.

Lynch, John. SimĂłn BolĂ­var: A Life (Yale University Press, 2006). A biography of the Venezuelan revolutionary who liberated six countries (including Peru) from Spanish rule.

MacQuarrie, Kim. The Last Days of the Incas (Simon & Schuster, 2007). In a captivating, adventurous read, MacQuarrie recounts the downfall (and subsequent aftermath) of the Incas at the hands of the Spanish conquerors.

Simpson, Joe. Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival (Perennial, 2004). A true story of near-death in the Peruvian Andes.

Simpson, John. In the Forests of the Night: Encounters in Peru with Terrorism, Drug-Running & Military Oppression (Diane Pub Co, 1993). Renowned BBC journalist Simpson recounts his journey to Peru to investigate the Shining Path movement.

Starn, Orin; Degregori, Ivan; Kirk, Rob. The Peru Reader (Duke University Press, 1995). A highly recommended introduction to Peruvian history, culture and politics, with essays, short stories, photographs, poetry and more.

Stokes, Susan. Cultures in Conflict: Social Movements and the State in Peru (University of California Press, 1995). An analysis of Peruvian political culture.

Stone-Miller, Rebecca. Art of the Andes: From ChavĂ­n to Inca (Thames & Hudson, 2002). A concise exploration of Andean art and architecture, accompanied by photos, drawings and plans.

Wright, Ruth; Valencia Zegarra, Alfredo. The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour (Johnson Books, 2011). The newly-revised edition of this highly-popular guide to Machu Picchu contains photos, maps and descriptions of all areas of the lost city.


Mario Vargas Llosa is Peru's most famous novelist and one of Latin America's most significant; he is also a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (2010). Several of his novels have been published in English. Popular works include Conversation in the Cathedral, Death in the Andes and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.

José Maria Arguedas is another of the most notable Peruvian literary figures. His writings explored rural indigenous Andean life in both Spanish and Quechua. Yawar Festival and Los Rios Profundos (both of which have been translated to English) are two of his most acclaimed novels.

Peru's most recognized poet is CĂ©sar Vallejo, considered to be one of the greatest Spanish-language poets. Start with the bilingual The Complete Poetry of CĂ©sar Vallejo (University of California Press, 2009).

American novelist Thornton Wilder wrote one of the most well-known books set in Peru, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Bridge of San Luis Rey, which tells the tale of a Peruvian friar struggling with issues of life and death after witnessing a tragic accident.

Nature Guides

Clements, James. A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru (Ibis Pub Co., 2011). A comprehensive guide to the 1,800-plus species of birds in the country.

Forsyth, Adrian; Miyata, Ken. Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1987). A broad but beautifully illustrated, highly-readable introduction to tropical biology.

Pearson, David; Beletsky, Les. Travellers' Wildlife Guide: Peru (Interlink Pub Group Inc, 2004). A well-researched, informative identification guide to the flora and fauna of Peru.

Restall, Robin; Rodner, Clemencia; Lentino, Miguel. Birds of Northern South America (Yale University Press, 2007). One of the highest regarded bird guides for the region.

Valqui, Thomas. Where to Watch Birds in Peru (Valqui, 2004). A useful guide to navigating your way around Peru in pursuit of the country's thousands of bird species.

By Martha Crowley

I work as an Editor/Writer at Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador. I first came to Latin America five years ago to escape rainy...

12 Jun 2012

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