Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries (Hardcover)
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Unique portraits of legendary characters along South America’s mountain spine, from Charles Darwin to the present day, told by a master traveler and observer.
The Andes Mountains are the world’s longest mountain chain, linking most of the countries in South America. Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and author Kim MacQuarrie takes us on a historical journey through this unique region, bringing fresh insight and contemporary connections to such fabled characters as Charles Darwin, Pablo Escobar, Che Guevara, and many others. He describes the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, where people’s lives depend entirely on a reed that grows there. He introduces us to a Patagonian woman who is the last living speaker of her language, as he explores the disappearance and sometimes surprising resiliency of indigenous cultures throughout the Andes. He meets a man whose grandfather witnessed Butch Cassidy’s last days in Bolivia,tracks down the ballet dancer who once hid the leader of the brutal Shining Path in her home, and hears a harrowing story from the school teacher who gave Che Guevara his final meal.
Through the stories he shares, MacQuarrie raises such questions as, where did the people of South America come from? Did they create or import their cultures? What makes South America different from other continents—and what makes the cultures of the Andes different from other cultures in South America? Why did Peru’s Shining Path leader Guzmán nearly succeed in his revolutionary quest while Che Guevara in Bolivia so quickly failed? And what so astounded Charles Darwin in South America that led him to conceive the theory of evolution? Deeply observed and beautifully written, Life and Death in the Andes shows us this land as no one has before.
About the Author
Kim MacQuarrie is a four-time Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and award-winning author who has lived and worked all over the world. Educated in the US and France, he lived for five years in Peru and spent some of that time living with a recently contacted tribe in the Amazon jungle, only 100 miles from Machu Picchu. He is the author of Life and Death in the Andes and The Last Days of the Incas, as well as three illustrated books about Peru. He currently divides his time between the US, Peru, and Thailand. Visit him at KimMacQuarrie.com.
“In this vivid, engaging hybrid of travel and history, Kim MacQuarrie proves to be the ideal companion on a trip the length of South America—a land where past and present are inseparable.”
— Mark Adam, author of TURN RIGHT AT MACHU PICCHU: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
“[MacQuarrie] writes smartly and engagingly and with a sense of populist enthusiasm about the variety of South America’s life and landscape.”
— Tom Zoellner
"MacQuarrie's book is as richly detailed as it is deeply felt. . . . A thoughtfully observed travel memoir and history."
— Kirkus Reviews
“The human history that has shaped South America is dramatically re-created in this rich account of iconic Andes characters, from Pablo Escobar and Hiram Bingham to Che Guevara and Butch Cassidy.”
— Don George
"Indelible images, combined with a sparkling narrative style and masterful historical investigation, make MacQuarrie’s effort to compress 10,000 years of Andean into a single volume a delight to read."
— Peter Klaren
“Few writers know the mountainous spine of South America better than Kim MacQuarrie, and fewer still can match the richness, verve, and competence he brings to his work. Whether focused on Darwin's extraordinary journey through icy Patagonia or the demise of Che Guevara in Bolivia, MacQuarrie displays an unfailing talent for great storytelling and an exceptional depth of knowledge. Life and Death in the Andes is a beautifully crafted book that brings to vivid life one of the most spectacular and mysterious landscapes on the planet.”
— Scott Wallace, author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes
"MacQuarrie is a master storyteller whose cinematic eye always shines through."
— Edward Morris
"MacQuarrie spectacularly describes the Andes. This is a well-written, immersive work that history aficionados, particularly those with an affinity for Latin America, will relish.”
— Library Journal
“It was an inspired idea to weave a journey through the Andes with tales of some of its most flamboyant characters – gangsters like the drug baron Pablo Escobar and the bank robber Butch Cassidy, murderous idealists like Che Guevara and the founder of the Shining Path insurgency, or Charles Darwin and the Patagonian indigenous peoples. Kim MacQuarrie tracks down their descendants or acolytes, and enthralls the reader with their stories and his own travels.”
— John Hemming, author of THE CONQUEST OF THE INCAS
"Eccentric, often lively. . . . Part history, part chatty travelogue. . . . MacQuarrie is an enthusiastic guide and is often amusing and occasionally enlightening."
— Brigitte Frase
“In Life and Death in the Andes, Kim MacQuarrie combines his extraordinary skills as a writer and researcher to create what is destined to become a modern day classic. A real page-turner and essential reading for anyone who hopes to better understand that increasingly important part of the world.”
— Major Gen. John C. Thompson (USA-Ret.), former Director of the Inter-American Defense College and Chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board