Traveling through Peru, tracing the history of the Incas from their royal cities of Cusco and Machu Picchu to their mythic origin in Lake Titicaca, Ronald Wright explores a country of contrasts—between Spanish and Indian, past and present, coastal desert and mountainous interior.
In his highly entertaining and perceptive account, Wright brings to life a complex culture, a land of ancient traditions seeking its place in the modern world. Embracing history, politics, anthropology, and literature, Cut Stones and Crossroads is a fascinating travel memoir and the study of a civilization by a writer who has won international awards as both a novelist and a historian.
Ronald Wright is the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of several non-fiction books, including A Short History of Progress, Stolen Continents (which won the Gordon Montador Award), and Cut Stones and Crossroads. He is also the author of the novels Henderson's Spear and A Scientific Romance, the latter of which won Britain's David Higham Prize for Fiction. He was born in England, educated at Cambridge, and now lives in British Columbia.
“For the committed traveler who wants the real story behind superficial images and impressions.” - The New York Times Book Review
“Wright expertly outlines the politics and culture of a nation struggling to come to terms with the abrupt collapse of one world and the fitful emergence of the next…. Hailed as the best modern travel book on Peru, [Cut Stones and Crossroads] combines a scholar’s knowledge of history and archaeology with a traveler’s report on the condition of a complicated, fragmented culture.” - The Globe and Mail
“Wright is a superb travel writer with a vivid historical imagination…. Wright describes the two worlds of Peru with vigour, enthusiasm, affection, and a sad, controlled anger.” - The Times (U.K.)
“This is a precise, carefully wrought work … [Wright has] written a travel book in the best tradition of travel literature … It weaves personal observation, history, architecture, and anecdotes of gastric and cultural distress.” - Toronto Star
“Cut Roads and Crossroads has been called the best modern travel book on Peru, part memoir, part adventure, part cultural study.” - Edmonton Journal
“Ronald Wright’s classic travelogue.” - Calgary Herald
“Packed with vignettes written in a lively style: poetic pen-pictures of people and places, of horrendous buses on vertiginous roads floating above the fleecy clouds, or urine smells in public places, of the exquisite music of the blind harpists.” - The Guardian (U.K.)
“There is so much to praise about this excellent book.” - The Washington Post
“Wright is an acute and indefatigable observer….. [He] displays a delicate ironic touch, an unerring instinct for the smallest detail with the maximum relevance to his subject.” - Los Angeles Times
“A sympathetic, intelligent picture of the land of Peru…. Anyone curious about this remarkable place will find Wright’s beautifully written book moving and memorable.” - The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“A marvelous mixture of science and color reporting, antiquities and contemporary politics.” - The Christian Science Monitor
“The best modern travel book on Peru that I know.” - John Hemming, author of The Conquest of the Incas