Masks, Mummies, and Magicians is a testament to the Waisbards’ enthusiasm for Peruvian antiquities. Some readers may find the enthusiasm contagious and may enjoy the book for its glowing words of awe. It is illustrated with some fine photographs of Peruvian mummies. The serious reader, however, will realize at once that the book has nothing to do with archaeology, history, or any other form of scholarship. It is a procession of tribes, migrations, rulers, deities, myths, etymologies, and even “historical” manuscripts, all derived from the Waisbards’ imaginations and all presented as serious (but of course undocumented) facts. What are we to say of the scholarship of authors who give us a historian named “Quesada” (p. 1), “painting in dazzling colors on fine silks” (p. 3), “the sixty-ninth ruler of the first dynasty” (p. 54), and hundreds more such fantasies and inaccuracies? How does one judge the
Waisbards’ repeated hints that they participated in the excavation of Huaca Pan de Azúcar, when in fact they were only interested onlookers to Dr. Jiménez Borja’s work? What shall we say of the claim that they used “the resources not only of history and archaeology, but of linguistics, ethnology, paleomagnetism, archaeography, botany, carbon-14 dating . . .” (p. 6), when none of these sciences has contributed to the book? In short, I am dismayed that Praeger has compromised its reputation for publishing good books in archaeology.