Bingham, Hiram. Phoenix: Lost City of the Incas. Edited by Hugh Thomson. London: Phoenix Press, 2003. Bingham’s classic description of how he discovered Machu Picchu  lends historical detail to Peru’s stand-out attraction and also explains why Bingham went on to become the leading inspiration for movie character Indiana Jones.
Kane, Joe. Running the Amazon. New York: Vintage, 1990. Starting from a glacier at 17,000 feet, Joe Kane and a team of adventurers attempted the never-before-done feat of navigating the entire length of the Amazon River from source to mouth. The story begins as an accurate description of life in Peru’s highlands and ends with the difficulties of managing personalities in a modern-day expedition.
Lee, Vincent. Sixpac Manco: Travels Among the Incas (1985). This self-published book is a must-read for Vilcabamba explorers and is available at the South American Explorers Club in Lima . It is out of print, but used copies can be found at Amazon.com or other Internet sites that sell used books. The book comes with highly accurate maps of the area around Espíritu Pampa and Lee’s amusing, shoot-from-the-hip adventurer’s attitude.
Mathiessen, Peter. At Play in the Fields of the Lord. New York: Vintage, 1991. Set in a malarial jungle outpost, this Mathiessen classic depicts the clash of development and indigenous peoples in the Amazon jungle . It was made into a motion picture as well.
Muller, Karin. Along the Inca Road, A Woman’s Journey into an Ancient Empire. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2000. The author traces her 6,000-mile journey along Inca roads in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Along the way she shares her insights about modern exploration and Inca history.
Schneebaum, Tobias. Keep the River on Your Right. New York: Grove Press, 1998. In 1955, New York intellectual Tobias Schneebaum spent eight years living with the Akarama tribe in the remote Madre de Dios jungle. His book describes his participation in homosexual and cannibalistic rituals and became an immediate jungle classic when it was published in 1969.
Shah, Tahir. Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru. London: Orion Publishing, 2002. A 16th-century mention of Inca who “flew like birds” over the jungle leads one journalist on a quest to unlock the secret of Peru’s so-called birdmen. His journey takes him to Machu Picchu , the Nasca Lines, and finally into the Amazon  itself.
Simpson, Joe. Touching the Void. New York: Harper Perennial, 2004. In 1985, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates attempted a first ascent of Siulá Grande, a forbidding peak in Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash . Simpson’s subsequent fall into a crevasse, and his struggle to survive, will grip even nonclimbers. This book was recently made into a motion picture of the same name.
Thomson, Hugh. The White Rock, An Exploration of the Inca Heartland. New York: Overlook Press, 2001. British documentary filmmaker Hugh Thomson returns to Vilcabamba, where he explored in his early 20s, to weave a recollection of his travels together with an alluring blend of Spanish chronicles and Inca history. It contains vivid, sometimes scathing, depictions of local personalities and makes for a fast, exciting way to read up for a Peru trip.