Friday 1 July 2016

Review: The White Rock: an exploration of the Inca heartland

The White Rock: an exploration of the Inca heartland The White Rock: an exploration of the Inca heartland by Hugh Thomson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hugh Thomson first went to Peruvian Andes at the age of 22. He was seeking a ruin that had been discovered a while ago, before being lost to time again. As a fresh faced youth, he found the Inca people and the places he visited compelling, confusing but most of all intoxicating. Walking in the footsteps of the great explorers, such as Bingham, who discovered Machu Picchu and Chambi a famous South American photographer, he travels across plains, over mountains and hacks through jungles in search of the people of this land. However, this book is more than that; it is a personal journey back through time to see the sights of the ancient civilisation and to learn of how it was destroyed by the brutal Spanish conquistadors.

Drawing on his experience of making documentaries Thomson has woven together the historical account of the Incas along with details of his two expeditions to the South American continent. As he went several times with a substantial gap in between the first and second visits, he has split his account over two sections. In each part, he writes about the people and places, the heart stopping moments when travelling in the mountains and jungles and of life in the towns and villages in Peru. The first trip was with two friends, but later he went alone, employing guides to accompany him as he sought the hidden world of the Inca. Whilst this is good, and I enjoyed it, I didn’t think it was as good as Tequila Oil, his trip to Mexico. Still worth reading though for an insight into the modern lands that sit on so much history.

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