Behind this rambling travel account, in almost equal parts, are physical energy, intellectual curiosity, love of history, and concern about the then present. Having previously retraced the route of Bolívar across Venezuela and Colombia, Bingham readily succumbed to an urge, in 1908, to retrace the route of colonial commerce between Buenos Aires and Lima. However, his varied forms of travel greatly affected his capacity to report, as he intended, concerning the “people, their history, politics, economics, and physical environment” (p. viii). A train ride of 720 miles in twenty-four hours defeated his every purpose while numerous forty-mile-per-day stages by mule admirably served most of his ends.

The best of Bingham concerns those parts of Bolivia and Peru where the roads were execrable and the Aymaras and Quechuas predominant. He is tantalizing in terms of sixty-five-year-old theorizing and speculation and weak in the irrelevance of his opening chapters. To Bingham himself the greatest worth lay in the role this travel prompted Peru to play in his subsequent career. Even as the reader marvels at Bingham’s energy, he is left to wonder why the editor of the reprint series in which this appears fails to marshal a single word to validate the desirability of reissuing the volume.