Along the Inca Road

Essential Readings:

The best way to learn about the unknown is to read what others have seen. Often these readings are centuries old and that is the beauty of undertaking the task of reading an obsure journal or novel written for an audience before the steam engine, vaccinations or GPS was a word in the vernacular.

This is a short list of essential readings that cover a range of topics and eras in the history of South America. Some are fictional works while most are diaries and journals of people who experienced the hardships, wonders and survived the high altitudes of the Andes or the humidity, heat and killer plants and creatures of the Amazon Basin. I highly urge you read as many as possible. Some, like the Map Maker's Wife are unbelieveable in its narrative of a woman's quest to survive traveling the rainforest alone to reach her husband hundreds of miles away. The Cloud Forest, set in more modern times, provides a better overview of what travel was like in South America 50 years ago.

Take a look at the titles and start with one that peaks your interest. You won't be disappointed.

800 Leagues down the Amazon

Jules Verne

A Journey in Brazil

Louis Agassiz

Along the Inca Road

Karin Muller

Amazon Extremes

Colin Angus

Birds of La Plata


Black and Gold


Brazilian Adventure

Peter Fleming

Broad and Alien is the World

Ciro Alegria

Canto General

Pedro Neruda

Chronicle of Don Roderick



Inca Garcilaso

Discurso y reflexiones politicos sobre el estado presente de los reynos del Peru


El ingles de los guesos

Benito Lynch

Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon

William Lewis Hendron

Farewell to Eden

Matthew Huxley and Cornell Capa

Green Hell


Green Mansions

William Henry Hudson

Handbook of South American Indians

William Hendron

Journal du voyage fait par ordre du roi a l'equateur

La Condamine

Jungle Paths and Inca Ruins


Memoire sur differents bois dan l'ile d Cayenne

J. Godin

Memoire sur la navigation de l'Amazone

J. Godin

Mesure des trois premiers degres du meridian dans l'hemisphere austral

La Condamine

New Discovery of the Great River of the Amazon


Noticias Americanas


Noticias secretas de America


Pequena Historia Fuegina


Quest of Paititi


Relacion historica del viage a la America Meridonal

Ulloa and Juan

Relation abregee d'un voyage fait dans l'interieur de l'Amerique Meridonale

La Condamine

Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

Las Casas

Sons of the Moon

Henry Shukman

South American Adventures


The Amazon: The life history of a mighty river

Caryl P. Haskins

The Cloud Forest

Peter Matthiessen

The Discovery of the Amazon

Jose Toribio Medina

The Explorers of South America

Edward J. Goodman

The Lost City of the Incas

Hiram Bingham

The Lost City of Z

Dave Grann

The Mapmakers Wife

Robert Whitaker

The Motorcycle Diaries

Ernesto "Che" Guevara

The Naturalist on the River Amazons

Henry Walter Bates

The Purple Land

William Henry Hudson

The River God Forgot

Richard Collier

The River of Doubt

Candace Millard

The River Sea

Marshall De Bruhl

The Rivers Ran East

Leonard Clark

The Sea and the Jungle

H.M. Tomalinson

The Valley of the Amazon

Herndon and Gibbon

Theodore Roosevelt and the Exploration of the Amazon Basin

Richard Kozar

Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Theodore Roosevelt

Traveling with Che Guevara

Alberto Granada

Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro

Alfred Russell Wallace

True History of the Conquest of New Spain

del Castillo

Two Against the Amazon


White Waters and Black

Gordon McCreagh

Who Goes Out in the Mid-day Sun?

Benedict Allen

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Copyright 2011 Anthony Galván III