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Extended Audio Sample The Last Days of the Incas, by Kim MacQuarrie Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.16 out of 54.16 out of 54.16 out of 54.16 out of 54.16 out of 5 4.16 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kim MacQuarrie Narrator: Norman Dietz Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The epic story of the fall of the Inca Empire to Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in the aftermath of a bloody civil war, and the recent discovery of the lost guerrilla capital of the Incas, Vilcabamba, by three American explorers.

In 1532, the fifty-four-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 two hundred 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—only recently rediscovered by a trio of colorful American explorers. Although the Incas fought a deadly, thirty-six-year-long guerrilla war, the Spanish ultimately captured the last Inca emperor and vanquished the native resistance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In this thrilling informative work…MacQuarrie also manages to spin the oft-told story of the discovery of Machu Picchu into narrative gold.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Thoroughly and entertainingly recounted…MacQuarrie excels.”


  • “With vivid and energetic prose, Emmy Award winner and author MacQuarrie re-creates the sixteenth-century struggle for what would become modern-day Peru.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A first-rate reference work of ambitious scope that will most likely stand as the definitive account of these people.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by John | 5/8/2011

    " This book was a wonderfully researched and written book about the fall of the Inca Empire to the Spanish. If you love history, then this is a must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Curtis | 3/22/2011

    " Fascinating history told well. This is not an exhaustive history despite it's length so do not presume that you are getting the full picture of what happened. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rebecca | 1/28/2011

    " One of the most colorful, narrative-driven accounts. Lots of social, cultural and psychological commentary on historical figures--they seem more like characters (people I can care about) than names in a history book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Bob | 1/27/2011

    " Really an amazing view of this chapter of history illuminating mountains of information I didn't know anything about! "

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About the Author
Author Kim MacQuarrie

Kim MacQuarrie is a writer, a four-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, and an anthropologist. He is the author of four books on Peru and lived in that country for five years. During that time, MacQuarrie lived with a recently contacted tribe of indigenous Amazonians, called the Yora. It was MacQuarrie’s experience filming a nearby group of indigenous people, whose ancestors still remembered their contacts with the Inca Empire, that ultimately led him to investigate and then to write his latest book, The Last Days of the Incas. Currently FX Channel is developing The Last Days of the Incas as a thirteen-part scripted television series. MacQuarrie is now at work on a book about a 4,500-mile journey from Colombia to Tierra del Fuego along the spine of the Andes.