95 books like The Secret of the Incas

By William Sullivan,

Here are 95 books that The Secret of the Incas fans have personally recommended if you like The Secret of the Incas. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning

John M. Saul Author Of What the Stork Brought: African click-speakers and the spread of humanity's oldest beliefs

From my list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a geologist, I met and shared meals – occasionally under the stars – with individuals with strikingly different backgrounds. In time I realized that, whatever their DNA, they all shared certain beliefs, that the happy dead eventually go upward, for example, even if they start by going down or out to the horizon. Eventually, I concluded that the entire human adventure began in a single moment the day one of our forebears asked another "What shall we do about death?" and was understood. Humans have a single genetic heritage; we also have a single cultural heritage.

John's book list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs

John M. Saul Why did John love this book?

Allen (1838-1906) was described as a "walking encyclopedia" by people who knew him. It was only after acquiring a reprint of his great book, a decade before the internet, that my own research into ancient cosmology took off. Star Names was first published in 1899 and as Wikipedia notes "there is no direct modern equivalent." As is the case with the internet, large sections can also be plucked out and read for pleasure.

By Richard H. Allen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Star Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is an unusual book for anyone who appreciates the beauty and wonder of the stars. Solidly based upon years of thorough research into astronomical writings and observations of the ancient Chinese, Arabic, Euphrates, Hellenic, and Roman civilizations, it is an informative, non-technical excursion into the vast heritage of folklore and history associated with the heavenly bodies.
From his studies of the writings of scores of ancient astronomers, the author has come up with a fascinating history of the names various cultures have given the constellations, the literary and folkloristic uses that have been made of the stars through the…


Book cover of Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time

Felice Vinci Author Of The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales

From my list on ancient myths and European prehistory.

Why am I passionate about this?

 I've been fond of the Homeric poems since my youth. I followed classical studies in the high here in Rome, so I studied Latin and Greek before graduating in nuclear engineering. Then, in addition to my professional activity, I've devoted myself to the study of The Iliad and the Odyssey, with their huge contradictions between geography and their traditional Mediterranean setting. The book I published on this topic was translated and published into eight foreign languages (as The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales), and has given rise to many scientific discussions. I also published The Mysteries of the Megalithic Civilization, a Bestseller here in Italy.

Felice's book list on ancient myths and European prehistory

Felice Vinci Why did Felice love this book?

This extraordinary book makes us understand what the ancients saw in the sky. It is one of those rare books that change our ideas about myth and archaic thought once and for all, explaining the myths of the whole world by an astronomical key. In a word, this is certainly an extraordinarily important book, which should definitely be read by anyone who is passionate about these topics.

By Giorgio de Santillana, Hertha von Dechend,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hamlet's Mill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Very nice, clean and solid copy.


Book cover of Astronomy of the Ancients

John M. Saul Author Of What the Stork Brought: African click-speakers and the spread of humanity's oldest beliefs

From my list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a geologist, I met and shared meals – occasionally under the stars – with individuals with strikingly different backgrounds. In time I realized that, whatever their DNA, they all shared certain beliefs, that the happy dead eventually go upward, for example, even if they start by going down or out to the horizon. Eventually, I concluded that the entire human adventure began in a single moment the day one of our forebears asked another "What shall we do about death?" and was understood. Humans have a single genetic heritage; we also have a single cultural heritage.

John's book list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs

John M. Saul Why did John love this book?

Among the several fine essays here, Harald Reiche's "The Language of Archaic Astronomy: a Clue to the Atlantis Myth?" is a bonus treat. Reiche introduces the technological language of ancient mythology – the "tech talk of our ancestors" – and explains how "stories," recounted in the language of myth, track the "damage" to the heavens caused by the Precession of the Equinoxes. This easy-reading collection is a great aid for those with little inclination to study the heavens through light-polluted skies, or to plunge into the troublesome field of comparative mythology. 

By Kenneth Brecher, Michael Feirtag,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Astronomy of the Ancients as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The eight articles and dozens of photographs and drawings in this book introduce the reader to the ancient astronomers―their observatories, their instruments, and their explorations of the awesome regularities (and shocking irregularities) that appear in the sky. The authors draw upon a wide range of disciplines―history, archaeology, technology, even mythology in discussing their subjects. This book is one endeavor toward a reconstruction of the past of the human mind, using all available evidence: text, myth, spade; yet, there is a difference. That difference is that in the world of the heavens there are real phenomena, striking or subtle, enduring or…


Book cover of Sacred Geography of the Ancient Greeks: Astrological Symbolism in Art, Architecture, and Landscape

John M. Saul Author Of What the Stork Brought: African click-speakers and the spread of humanity's oldest beliefs

From my list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a geologist, I met and shared meals – occasionally under the stars – with individuals with strikingly different backgrounds. In time I realized that, whatever their DNA, they all shared certain beliefs, that the happy dead eventually go upward, for example, even if they start by going down or out to the horizon. Eventually, I concluded that the entire human adventure began in a single moment the day one of our forebears asked another "What shall we do about death?" and was understood. Humans have a single genetic heritage; we also have a single cultural heritage.

John's book list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs

John M. Saul Why did John love this book?

Professor Richer, author of a half-dozen books, commonly commented on intellectual matters for French radio. My recommendation of his only book translated into English requires an explanation because the book contains multiple errors and is seriously flawed. In places, Richer neglects the effects of the Precession and elsewhere uses maps on which unrelated points are forced to fall along straight lines. But I once spoke with Richer and have read his other books knowing that the man had a secret. Indeed, more than one. Richer had access to papyrus texts indicating that the Ancient Greeks had set out temples, cities, and colonies across the Mediterranean in ways that reflected the zodiac. Another reason for his secrecy, which I discuss in my own book, is that the papyruses, discovered during Bonaparte's Egyptian Campaign (1798-1801), also included materials that ultimately gave rise to The Da Vinci Code.

By Jean Richer, Christine Rhone (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sacred Geography of the Ancient Greeks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides proof of the existence and explains the significance of planned alignments between classical temples and oracle sites over a wide range of territory, pointing to an astrological system of planning in the ancient world. This system of symbolism may be used predictively and is supported by all relevant artifacts. Here is a unifying approach to the study of geomancy in the ancient world as a whole.

Richer has found a network of significant geographic alignments, associated with the pathways of various legendary figures and gods, that are geomantic keys to many legends and texts. One of these…


Book cover of Cloud Road: A Journey Through the Inca Heartland

Hilary Bradt Author Of A Connemara Journey: A Thousand Miles on Horseback Through Western Ireland

From my list on travel with animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Until I did my own animal-accompanied journey with Mollie and Peggy in 1984, my only association with animals on the trail was inadvertently with a collection of cockroaches in my backpack. It was when Bradt decided to add to their anthologies with a collection of stories about travelling with animals in 2018, Beastly Journeys, that I was able to read a wide variety of books on the topic. A delightful exercise!

Hilary's book list on travel with animals

Hilary Bradt Why did Hilary love this book?

Like the Stevenson book, this is also about travelling with a donkey, but what makes this narrative special is the author’s hatred of his pack animal. This will sound instantly off-putting but John’s descriptions of Dapple’s transgressions are very, very funny and his fury is never translated into violence towards the animal. There are lyrical descriptions of the landscape in northern Peru, but it is for the humour that I return to this book from time to time. I’m a sucker for any book about Peru, the subject of my early adventures and very first guidebook, and this is one of the most enjoyable

By John Harrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cloud Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In every atlas there is a country missing from the maps of South America: the Andean nation. For five months John Harrison journeys through this secret country, walking alone into remote villages where he is the first gringo the inhabitants have ever seen, and where life continues as if Columbus had never sailed. He lives at over 10,000 feet for most of the trip, following the great road of the Incas: the Camino Real, or Royal Road. Hand built over 500 years ago, it crosses the most difficult and dangerous mountains in all the Americas, diving into sweltering canyons and…


Book cover of The Huarochiri Manuscript: A Testament of Ancient and Colonial Andean Religion

Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, and Barbara C. Ewell Author Of Anthology of Spanish American Thought and Culture

From my list on seeing the world from a Latin American perspective.

Why are we passionate about this?

As professors of Latin American Studies, with more than 35 years of teaching experience on these topics, and as Latin Americanists who have lived experiences in our countries of origin, we can connect to themes of social justice as well as the wonders that indigenous cultures can offer globally in the fight against climate change as well as social and racial injustices. When we were students in the US, these texts gave us ways to reconnect to our roots; as professors, they offered us ways to connect with today’s students searching for global justice and service to others. These books help us to realize that there are other ways of looking at the world.

Jorge's book list on seeing the world from a Latin American perspective

Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, and Barbara C. Ewell Why did Jorge love this book?

As a person from the Andes—and moreover from Bolivia, from a small town in an Andean valley—I also lived and grew up in the US, and I always had to explain where I was from, because so little was known of Bolivia’s geographical location, not to mention its indigenous cultures. The Huarochiri manuscript, in its English translation, is one of the earliest oral testaments of the experience of indigenous peoples under Spanish rule: it’s a testament to their oral tradition and beliefs, it’s a testament of cultural survival, coded in their myths, such as that of the Fox’s Tail, explained as cosmological knowledge in our Anthology. I love this book because it brought me back to understanding my own roots and traditions, it was a source of pride, and it undermined all the negative school teachings about Andean indigenous cultures. Originally written in Quechua, it underwent a translation into…

By Frank Salomon, George L. Urioste,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Huarochiri Manuscript as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great repositories of a people's world view and religious beliefs, the Huarochiri Manuscript may bear comparison with such civilization-defining works as Gilgamesh, the Popul Vuh, and the Sagas. This translation by Frank Salomon and George L. Urioste marks the first time the Huarochiri Manuscript has been translated into English, making it available to English-speaking students of Andean culture and world mythology and religions.

The Huarochiri Manuscript holds a summation of native Andean religious tradition and an image of the superhuman and human world as imagined around A.D. 1600. The tellers were provincial Indians dwelling on the west…


Book cover of Bolivar: American Liberator

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

This fabulous book tells not only of Bolivar’s struggle to create an independent united states of South America, but why. The author graphically describes what it means to be a colony, subject to Crown rule. The control exerted by Spain over her colonies was nothing less than feudal. This book illuminates what it is like to have your country pillaged as a colony. Franklin Roosevelt’s original 1941 reason for going to war, if we had to, was to help liberate all the enchained European colonies through a treatise called the Atlantic Charter

By Marie Arana,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bolivar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The dramatic life of the revolutionary hero Bolivar, who liberated South America - a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic.

Simon Bolivar's life makes for one of history's most dramatic canvases, a colossal narrative filled with adventure and disaster, victory and defeat. This is the story not just of an extraordinary man but of the liberation of a continent.

A larger-than-life figure from a tumultuous age, Bolivar ignited a revolution, liberated six countries from Spanish rule and is revered as the great hero of South American history. In a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic, BOLIVAR colourfully portrays…


Book cover of The Conquest of the Incas

Vincent R. Lee Author Of Forgotten Vilcabamba: Final Stronghold of the Incas

From my list on discovery of the true Lost City of the Incas.

Why am I passionate about this?

Vincent Lee is a professional architect and former Alpine climbing guide and instructor, US Marine Corps officer, Andean explorer, and author. Searching in the high Andes of Peru and the rain forests of the Upper Amazon for the remains of the long-lost final redoubt of the once-powerful Inca Empire not only appealed to his life-long interest in all of these disparate fields, but it called upon his many years of experience in each: wilderness trekking, mountain warfare, mapping and drawing the remains of the more than 500 ancient structures discovered.

Vincent's book list on discovery of the true Lost City of the Incas

Vincent R. Lee Why did Vincent love this book?

The classic account of this fascinating, historic, and tragic event, unfortunately little known by western readers, is here masterfully told by the former Director of the Royal Geographical Society in London.  His amazing story of the once-great Inca Empire and its destruction by Francisco Pizzaro's ruthless Spanish Coquistadores captured my imagination in 1982 and sent me on a 40-year Odyssey of travel, discovery, and adventure still as vivid today as it was back then. It will do no less for any reader with a curious mind and a love of history.

By John Hemming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Conquest of the Incas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Conquest of the Incas, John Hemming's masterly and highly acclaimed account of one of the most exciting conquests known to history, has never been surpassed.

From the first small band of Spanish adventurers to enter the mighty Inca empire to the execution of the last Inca forty years later, it is the story of bloodshed, infamy, rebellion and extermination, told as convincingly as if it happened yesterday. It also tells the social impact of the conquest, on ordinary Peruvians forced to work for Spanish masters or in hellish silver and mercury mines, on change of religion and government, and…


Book cover of Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru

Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, and Barbara C. Ewell Author Of Anthology of Spanish American Thought and Culture

From my list on seeing the world from a Latin American perspective.

Why are we passionate about this?

As professors of Latin American Studies, with more than 35 years of teaching experience on these topics, and as Latin Americanists who have lived experiences in our countries of origin, we can connect to themes of social justice as well as the wonders that indigenous cultures can offer globally in the fight against climate change as well as social and racial injustices. When we were students in the US, these texts gave us ways to reconnect to our roots; as professors, they offered us ways to connect with today’s students searching for global justice and service to others. These books help us to realize that there are other ways of looking at the world.

Jorge's book list on seeing the world from a Latin American perspective

Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, and Barbara C. Ewell Why did Jorge love this book?

I recommend this book because it makes me understand the value of being part of many cultures, of a multicultural world, of building bridges between those cultures and surviving in all of them, just as the Inca Garcilaso did, growing up in his mother’s indigenous culture as a member of Inca royalty, while also acknowledging his Spanish father’s culture. I love the way this piece is almost a biography, written in lucid prose, and thus providing an early instance of the linguistic, historical, and cultural fusion that became a distinguishing mark of Spanish American culture. Inca Garcilaso’s text teaches us how to survive in a multicultural world, how to accept change, and at the same time value our diverse identities.

By Garcilaso de la Vega, Harold V. Livermore (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Garcilaso de la Vega, the first native of the New World to attain importance as a writer in the Old, was born in Cuzco in 1539, the illegitimate son of a Spanish cavalier and an Inca princess. Although he was educated as a gentleman of Spain and won an important place in Spanish letters, Garcilaso was fiercely proud of his Indian ancestry and wrote under the name EI Inca. Royal Commentaries of the Incas is the account of the origin, growth, and destruction of the Inca empire, from its legendary birth until the death in 1572 of its last independent…


Book cover of Lost City of the Incas

Vincent R. Lee Author Of Forgotten Vilcabamba: Final Stronghold of the Incas

From my list on discovery of the true Lost City of the Incas.

Why am I passionate about this?

Vincent Lee is a professional architect and former Alpine climbing guide and instructor, US Marine Corps officer, Andean explorer, and author. Searching in the high Andes of Peru and the rain forests of the Upper Amazon for the remains of the long-lost final redoubt of the once-powerful Inca Empire not only appealed to his life-long interest in all of these disparate fields, but it called upon his many years of experience in each: wilderness trekking, mountain warfare, mapping and drawing the remains of the more than 500 ancient structures discovered.

Vincent's book list on discovery of the true Lost City of the Incas

Vincent R. Lee Why did Vincent love this book?

The story of the "discovery" of the now-famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu by an obscure Yale professor in 1911. During his first exploring expedition in the jungles of Peru in 1909, the author learned of the final redoubt into which the Incas fled after the arrival of the Spaniards. Called "Vilcabamba," the city had since become lost in the rain forests of the eastern Andes and Bingham was determined to find it. He did but stumbled upon the much finer Machu Picchu, a world-class architectural wonder, in the process.

By Hiram Bingham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lost City of the Incas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in the 1950s, this is a classic account of the discovery in 1911 of the lost city of Machu Picchu.

In 1911 Hiram Bingham, a pre-historian with a love of exotic destinations, set out to Peru in search of the legendary city of Vilcabamba, capital city of the last Inca ruler, Manco Inca. With a combination of doggedness and good fortune he stumbled on the perfectly preserved ruins of Machu Picchu perched on a cloud-capped ledge 2000 feet above the torrent of the Urubamba River. The buildings were of white granite, exquisitely carved blocks each higher than a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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