The Last Days of the Incas Audiobook | Kim MacQuarrie | Audible.com
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The Last Days of the Incas | [Kim MacQuarrie]

The Last Days of the Incas

In 1532, the 54-year-old Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a force of 167 men, including his four brothers, to the shores of Peru. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, the Inca rulers of Peru had just fought a bloody civil war in which the emperor Atahualpa had defeated his brother, Huascar. Pizarro and his men soon clashed with Atahualpa and a huge force of Inca warriors at the Battle of Cajamarca.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1532, the 54-year-old Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a force of 167 men, including his four brothers, to the shores of Peru. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, the Inca rulers of Peru had just fought a bloody civil war in which the emperor Atahualpa had defeated his brother, Huascar. Pizarro and his men soon clashed with Atahualpa and a huge force of Inca warriors at the Battle of Cajamarca. Despite being outnumbered by more than 200 to one, the Spaniards prevailed - due largely to their horses, their steel armor and swords, and their tactic of surprise. They captured and imprisoned Atahualpa. Although the Inca emperor paid an enormous ransom in gold, the Spaniards executed him anyway. The following year, the Spaniards seized the Inca capital of Cuzco, completing their conquest of the largest native empire the New World has ever known. Peru was now a Spanish colony, and the conquistadors were wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

But the Incas did not submit willingly. A young Inca emperor, the brother of Atahualpa, soon led a massive rebellion against the Spaniards, inflicting heavy casualties and nearly wiping out the conquerors. Eventually, however, Pizarro and his men forced the emperor to abandon the Andes and flee to the Amazon. There, he established a hidden capital, called Vilcabamba. Although the Incas fought a deadly, 36-year-long guerrilla war, the Spanish ultimately captured the last Inca emperor and vanquished the native resistance.

Kim MacQuarrie lived in Peru for five years and became fascinated by the Incas and the history of the Spanish conquest. Drawing on both native and Spanish chronicles, he vividly describes the dramatic story of the conquest, with all its savagery and suspense.

©2007 Kim MacQuarrie; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Vivid and energetic....Riveting." (Publishers Weekly)
"A first-rate reference work of ambitious scope that will most likely stand as the definitive account of these people." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (389 )
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4.0 (147 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 12-15-09
    David Houston, TX, United States 12-15-09 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quit while you are ahead"

    The story of the Conquistadors and the Incas is pretty compelling stuff. One begins by wishing a plague on both their houses and finishes with an enduring revulsion for Spanish duplicity, brutality and, above all, greed. So the material is very powerful.
    The writing, on the other hand, is plodding and distressingly repetitious. The strength of the book is that it includes all the interesting details which can make an historical account come alive; the weakness of the book is that the details are recounted like a grocery list. And lest we come home without the milk or the beansprouts, they are usually reiterated a few times.
    Worst of all, the final few hours of the book are devoted to the modern history of the discovery of Incan ruins. Unlike the original narrative, the material here is deadly dull, and it is just as poorly presented. I never quite made it to the end.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Newton, MA, United States 11-05-07
    Matthew Newton, MA, United States 11-05-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Interesting but problematic"

    This book's is a tour de force of creative and evocative historical writing. The author has done an excellent job of making the subject and characters come alive in an interesting and informative way. However, one cannot but suspect that this was done at the expense of playing fast and loose with the historical record and by being academically sloppy.

    This is best demonstrated by the author’s chronic overuse of the term "undoubtedly". The author wants to tell a rousing narrative including the minute actions and feelings of the principal players but is stymied by the lack of historical evidence. The solution seems to have been to add the word "undoubtedly" to all of these wonderful descriptions for which there is no historical evidence. This is both academically sloppy and rather annoying. It makes one doubt whether the facts presented in the book are indeed facts or just supposition and guesswork. Even the best historians need to use some amount of imagination to make a scene come alive but any decent historian knows to make it crystal clear when they are doing so.

    So, if you want a highly “readable” overview of the Spanish conquest of Peru, this is an excellent book. However, the flaws make is decidedly less than credible and may be both frustrating and problematic to the serious reader or historian. As an important Caveat: I only have experienced the audio book. It is highly likely that there were explanatory footnotes for the questionable statements showing the author’s sources and rational.

    29 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 05-02-08
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 05-02-08 Member Since 2005

    Paul Norwood

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    "Fact is more fascinating than fiction"

    This marvelous book will make your hair rise. The unbelievable chronicle of Pizzaro and the Incas seems like fiction, but it is all true. When I explain the history to those who might have an interest, they are incredulous. The Spanish method did work, but it couldn't be done today and shouldn't be done. Listen to it if you have an interest in history.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 10-14-08
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 10-14-08 Member Since 2005

    Curtis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Now I Want to Visit Peru"

    A fascinating book about an unlikely overthrow of a vast empire by a small band of uneducated and undeserving Spaniards. This book will make you admire the Incas and feel disdain for the Spanish invaders. I'm sure the perspective of the author is a bit slanted in this direction, but I still feel he is giving an even-handed account.
    The personalities of the participants in the events reaaly get developed well. The descriptions of the setting makes me want to take a vaction to Peru to explore this fascinating region.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-13-10
    10-13-10 Member Since 2008

    mkeough

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    "Excellent"

    This was a great listen. Brings what is unfortunately an obscure historical subject for most North Americans to life. Reads like a novel, driven by greed, violence, brutality and the personalities of the principals. The last section of the book, on the American "discovers" of the Incan ruins is a change of pace, but nonetheless interesting. Focuses on the personalities, errors and ambitions of the finders. Made me look into the geography of Peru to get a sense of the stage on which this tragedy was played out. Highly recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benny S Madison, WI United States 02-18-10
    Benny S Madison, WI United States 02-18-10 Member Since 2012
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    "Pretty boring"

    I enjoy history, but I insist that it be written in a way that keeps my attention. This book did not. Honestly, it was pretty boring, and that surprised me since the subject matter was interesting and should have been able to hold anyone's attention. Honestly, don't waste your time with this book unless you are looking to be put to sleep.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark D. Jones Huntsville, AL United States 06-19-10
    Mark D. Jones Huntsville, AL United States 06-19-10 Member Since 2000
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    "Read in such a way as to put you to sleep"

    Norman Dietz sounds like he is on the brink of collapsing from exhaustion. I love history books but his reading of this one makes me feel sluggish.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 06-03-13
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 06-03-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great information that could be presented better"

    Ever since I read Charles C Mann's excellent book "1491", and the even better follow up "1493", my interest in the history of South American history has been sky high. Other books about ancient history, especially Jared Diamond's classic "Guns, Germs, And Steel", are the sort of thing I can't get enough of. This book is written more in the style of a story teller than a raw examination of the facts. It's a different approach than I was used to, but one that I thought would be more interesting and more fun. While judging this book against the excellent works mentioned above might be unfair, I think it's fair to say that it should have been much better.

    I don't think the storyline approach is the problem. I do think that the author including so many names, dates and details made the program hard to follow in an audio format. But I think that the real problem lies in the monotonous narration. Norman Dietz sounds like he's reading the phone book while drifting off to sleep, not telling an incredible tale of battles, betrayals and intrigue. A little variation of pacing, emphasis, and energy would go a long way toward making this a home run of a five star program.

    As far as the writing goes, I would have liked to hear more about the contrasts between the Spanish and Inca cultures, and more about Inca culture in general than political and military tactics. I also would like more examination of the evidence, and explanation of how the author decided to tell the story the way he did. The evidence is known to be sparse, so a little interpretation is understandable. I'd just like to hear that interpreting explained a little.

    But with all that said, my interest in the subject kept me in it to the end, and I don't consider my time or my credit to be wasted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Indianapolis, IN, United States 04-22-13
    Jay Indianapolis, IN, United States 04-22-13
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    "Lenghty details good for those who have patiance"
    Would you listen to The Last Days of the Incas again? Why?

    I would not listen to this story again because it is very descriptive and lengthy. I often was ready for the story to develop. The details were great though I could see many people really liking this book.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    More emphasis could have been made on the more important parts the narrator seem to drag on in the details of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall this is a wonderful story worthy of a movie !!!! I think more people should learn about the Incas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abram of the Seven Seas Tifton, GA, United States 04-27-12
    Abram of the Seven Seas Tifton, GA, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2011

    A seeker of wisdom, a theorist of husbandry, a traveler of distant lands - on the whole, a bit eclectic...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Yes: It's Worth the Buy!"

    It may be enough to say that, I began this book with a keen interest in Inca lore – and finished fascinated by it…The primary purpose of this book is to describe the clash of two great peoples, viz., the mighty Incas and the endless Conquistadores. Thus, if the listener desires in depth accounts of the times before 1492, then other books would make a better choice. However, for an overall introduction to the Inca’s, for rich descriptions of bygone wars and cultures – all written in a way to present complex material for the ease and enjoyment of laymen - the listener would do well to delay purchase no longer…

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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