Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I'll devour a good travel memoir like some folks will attack a slice of gourmet chocolate cake, and this is easily one of the best I've ever read in the genre. A savvy mix of personal experience, history lesson, and sociopolitical analysis, the storytelling at play here is a joy to encounter and does a lovely job of capturing the many charms of South America. --Todd

— From Staff Picks - Todd


"A thoughtfully observed travel memoir and history as richly detailed as it is deeply felt" (Kirkus Reviews) of South America, from Butch Cassidy to Che Guevara to cocaine king Pablo Escobar to Charles Darwin, all set in the Andes Mountains.

The Andes Mountains are the world's longest mountain chain, linking most of the countries in South America. Kim MacQuarrie takes us on a historical journey through this unique region, bringing fresh insight and contemporary connections to such fabled characters as Charles Darwin, Che Guevara, Pablo Escobar, Butch Cassidy, Thor Heyerdahl, and others. He describes living on the floating islands of Lake Titcaca. He introduces us to a Patagonian woman who is the last living speaker of her language. We meet the woman who cared for the wounded Che Guevara just before he died, the police officer who captured cocaine king Pablo Escobar, the dancer who hid Shining Path guerrilla Abimael Guzman, and a man whose grandfather witnessed the death of Butch Cassidy.

Collectively these stories tell us something about the spirit of South America. What makes South America different from other continents--and what makes the cultures of the Andes different from other cultures found there? How did the capitalism introduced by the Spaniards change South America? Why did Shining Path leader Guzman nearly succeed in his revolutionary quest while Che Guevara in Bolivia was a complete failure in his?

"MacQuarrie writes smartly and engagingly and with...enthusiasm about the variety of South America's life and landscape" (The New York Times Book Review) in Life and Death in the Andes. Based on the author's own deeply observed travels, "this is a well-written, immersive work that history aficionados, particularly those with an affinity for Latin America, will relish" (Library Journal).
Product Details
ISBN: 9781439168905
ISBN-10: 1439168903
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: December 13th, 2016
Pages: 448
Language: English