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The Last Days of the Incas

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Strong, Fresh Take on Spanish Conquest of the Incas

    The Last Days of the Incas is a terrifically readable history of the Spanish conquest of the Incas and Peru. Whereas John Hemming's Conquest of the Incas is the definitive modern history, MacQuarrie brings to bear a more narrative and engaging approach.

    Last Days is historically thorough, but MacQuarrie writes many of the incidents of the conquest in a more fictional style. Often scenes are are qualified with comments like "Undoubtedly, Pizarro felt such-and-such," or "No doubt Manco looked out over the valley, etc." Once one accepts the speculative commentary for what it is, it shouldn't be bothersome, and is more than made up for by the narrative flow.

    The story of the conquest is well-known: Pizarro & co. swoop into Peru with only a handful of fully armed conquistadors looking for fame and fortune. This small band (aided unknowingly by a smallpox plague ravaging North, Central and South America) kidnap and kill their way to riches and domination. The Incas are able to consolidate their many tribes, but the rebellions all flame out.

    Ultimately, the Spanish prevail despite their own internecine battles that ends in the death of Francisco Pizarro by Spanish hands.

    John Hemming is for the hardest core academic reading of the Incan conquest. MacQuarrie is faster and more fiction-like read. Both are highly recommended.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    Swashbuckling Spanish Conquistadors Come Alive in The Conquest of Incas!

    In preparation for our upcoming Peru trip, my wife and I have treasured the reading of The Last Days of The Incas by Kim MacQuarrie. This book has added greatly to our excitement about undertaking this Peru trip. In reading The Last Days of The Incas, we were captivated by the dramatic Andes terrain, the many visual splendid achievements of the Inca civilization 'cities/temples/ strongholds/Machu Picchu', the many highs and lows of the battles/military tactics between the Spanish Conquistadores and the Incas, the sharp contrast in weaponry between them, and the most commanding central characters 'the dynamic Pizzaro brothers and the Inca Emperors and their Military Generals'. In The Last Days of The Incas, we also enjoyed MacQuarrie¿s insights into the Explorer Hiram Bingham and the discoveries of Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba. Kim MacQuarrie's thorough research and wonderful writing style makes The Last Days of The Incas come alive in a most compelling way!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Completely Engrossing

    This was of the most thrilling books I have read in years. Brilliant characters. Amazing story. Really couldn't stop reading once I began. I felt like I had taken a time machine and I was there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2010

    Loved It

    Such a memorable book. Great characters. Great drama. One of my favorites of all time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Fascinating

    I was unaware of this fascinating portion of history until I read The Last Days of the Incas. I highly recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2009

    Last Days of the Incas by Kim McQuarrie

    This is the best book of its genre. I have read widely on the Spanish conquest and history of the Inca empire but rarely have encountered such enjoyable reading. Mr. McQuarrie has assembled a vast and complicated history into excellent scholarship that is also good reading. If this subject interests, buy this book. If it does not, buy it and get interested.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    One of the Best Historical Narratives you will read

    MacQuarrie delivers one of the best Historical Narratives you will read. The subject matter is very interesting: the Incan Empire 10 million strong being conquered by a Spanish force of less than 200 men - albeit men on horses with superior military technology. But, the thing that sets this book appart is the way the story is told. That's what I mean about this book being a great historical narrative. The author does a masterful job at just telling the story of the Spanish conquest over the Incan empire. MacQuarrie is a masterful story teller!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    A Tremendous Read of an Appalling Epoch

    I loved this book! Like many others interested in the Incas and their first encounters with the Spanish, I knew the eventual results, but not much about how it all happened. The author took me inside the thinking of the principal players on both sides. It's still amazing to me that the original Spanish beachhead of less than 200 men managed to bring down the leadership of 10 million people. MacQuarrie did a superb job of leading me through the very first encounter, the resulting long resistance, and the final bitter end of the Inca rule. I very much recommend this work...was sad to reach that last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    A Feast for Fans of Narrative Historical Fiction

    The Last Days of the Incas is one of the best books I¿ve read about the Incan dynasty ¿ and I¿ve read a lot. Most books on the subject have been dry, historical accounts occasionally peppered with an interesting detail about daily life. However, MacQuarrie¿s book breathes life into this entire period. The narrative moves the story along like fiction (though it is meticulously researched history) and it is filled with amazing details of both the Spaniards and Incas that make the book a fascinating read. Examples of such a detail: Potatoes were a staple of the Incan diet ¿ as were guinea pigs- and during the time of the Incas there were over 5000 varieties of potatoes in this region of South American. I live in Ecuador and it is fascinating to see that to this day the people still eat guinea pig (they call it cuy ¿ and now they eat chicken too) - and a trip to the market will reveal at least a few hundred of the thousands of types of potatoes still available. As with many lost cultures, the truth of what transpired can be difficult to determine. But truth can be stranger than fiction and this book presents the best evidence of the last days of the Incas.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    Beautifully told history of the exotic clash between the Incas and Conquistadores

    I found this to be a wonderful dramatic retelling of a shocking and amazing period of history. Kim MacQuarrie retells the history of the confrontation and exploitation of the Incas by the Conquistadores. MacQuarrie presents a vivid dramatic story that you would never believe if it had been fabricated. The story is exotic, tragic and brilliant and Kim's writing abilities make a rivoting and quick read. This is history I was never taught in school and yet helped define western civilization in the Americas and our relationships with the Indigenous peoples who preceeded us. MacQuarrie also brings the story into the present by describing recent attempts to unravel Inca history through the archeology they left behind and the fairly recent rediscovery of the last hidden Inca capital had been created on the edge of the Amazon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    A reviewer

    I've tried reading Prescott twice and many others regarding this subject. Author of the LAST DAYS of the INCAS is the perfect writer to make this history understandable. Far better then Gibbon and an adventure in reading. Even maps included are great. If you are into reading fiction then I recommend you try this history. Lot better then fiction. This book contains notes that make a reader thirst for more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2007

    Fantastic Narrative History

    What an excellent book! I found myself sitting in parking lots listening. I just couldn't turn it off. Not since James Michener has an author made me feel the culture and environment as if I lived during that era. Furthermore, the organization of the Spanish conquistadors and their relationship to King Charles V was fascinating. The Incas had built one of the most interesting societies in the history of the world. I heartily recommend this audiobook, but, make sure you are prepared to be mesmerized!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2007

    A Rollercoaster Read

    Before I read this book, my knowledge of the Inca Empire was limited to a vague notion that they once had a great civilization that was quickly destroyed by a small bunch of Spaniards. I had no idea of the blood curdling drama that awaited me. Kim MacQuarrie¿s book is a riveting, thrill a minute tale written with such a skillful combination of elegant restraint and high stakes immediacy that I couldn¿t wait to get to the next chapter and on some occasions, 'like when Manco Inca first mobilized the Incas into rebellion to name but one example', I had to remind myself to exhale. Right up to the end, I was willing the Incas to prevail, all the while knowing that their days were numbered. The fact that all the issues it so painstakingly and beautifully brings to the surface are scarily relevant to today¿s world does the book no disservice either. Read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2007

    I was unable to put it down...

    As an amateur Inca enthusiast planning my first trip to Peru I purchased a copy of 'The Last Days of the Incas' after reading a review in the newspaper. I wasn¿t disappointed. Kim MacQuarrie¿s prose brings what is one of the most exciting stories that has ever occurred in the Americas to life in vivid and startling detail. Once I began reading the book, I literally was unable to put it down 'nor was my husband, who read it after me'. Not only does ¿The Last Days of the Incas¿ bring the conquest to life, but it also includes chapters on the modern discoveries of Inca ruins in Peru, and also explains how Machu Picchu 'a must see' fits into the history of the Inca Empire. This book does an amazing job of placing you at the heart of the conquest. Francisco Pizarro and his four brothers come completely to life as do a colorful assortment of other Inca and Spanish characters. You¿ll feel the sharp wind in the Andes whipping round your legs, the buzz of bullets from harquebusiers whizzing by your ears as you experience the valiant and brave efforts of the rebel Inca emperor, Manco Inca, struggle against all odds to hold onto his empire. If you are going on vacation to Peru or South America, or just want to experience an amazing and epic story first hand, then I can¿t recommend this book enough. Really extraordinary.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    Great Book, Buy it.

    Great Book, Buy it.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Highly recommended

    We're planning to go to Peru so I got a copy for my Nook. The book is very well written, thus a great read. The characters are very interesting, if not disturbing. If you want to know about the last days of the Incas you should read this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Thrilled me

    I was totally engrossed. Want to know more. The perfect introduction to the Inca story.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Excellent, reads like a novel.

    Having read Prescott's history several decades ago, I found MacQuarrie's history much more vibrant and real. He brings the whole saga to life and, in spite of the numerous repetitions, the book reads like an action packed novel and was very hard to put down. A very nice piece of writing and research and except for the criticism above and a lack of maps, I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the exploration and conquest of South America. Kudos to MacQuarrie and Simon & Shuster!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    Great Book

    Loved this book. Sorry that it ever had to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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