School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-8-While there are other books with more information on the Incas, this one is useful for its coverage of pre-Inca cultures. Just about half the book deals with the Incas, covering their rise, society, everyday life, science and technology, arts and crafts, and the civil war that made them vulnerable to the Spanish conquest. It also examines the Chavin, Paracas, Nazca, Moche, Tiahuanaco, Huari, and Chimu. The authors are careful to avoid Eurocentrism, pointing out that the conquerors considered the Incas backward because they didn't have the wheel, which would actually have been of little use in the Andes. Illustrations include photographs of artifacts, archaeological sites, old documents, and contemporary people and scenes. Additional information is included in boxes labeled "A Closer Look," in which such topics as the quipu record-keeping system and suspension bridge construction are discussed. Maps show the extent of the Inca empire and the location of archaeological sites mentioned. Unfortunately, the glossary lacks a pronunciation guide. There is more information here than would be found in an encyclopedia; The World Book Encyclopedia includes only the Nazca, in a very brief article. Elizabeth Baquedano's Aztec, Inca and Maya (Knopf, 1993) mentions pre-Inca civilizations briefly, but since it groups the cultures by topic, it is less useful for reports. Tim Wood's The Incas (Viking, 1996) also mentions other Peruvian cultures, and has more detail on the Incas. Kathryn Hinds's The Incas (Benchmark, 1997) has no information on pre-Inca cultures.-Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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