Speaking at a 1913 National Geographic Society gala, Hiram Bingham III, the American explorer celebrated for finding the “lost city” of the Andes two years earlier, suggested that Machu Picchu “is an awful name, but it is well worth remembering.” Millions of travelers have since followed Bingham’s advice. When Bingham first encountered Machu Picchu, the site was an obscure ruin. Now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu is the focus of Peru’s tourism economy. In Making Machu Picchu: The Politics of Tourism in Twentieth-Century Peru
(University of North Carolina Press, 2018), Mark Rice
, Assistant Professor of History at Baruch College, City University of New York, presents a history of Machu Picchu in the twentieth century—from its “discovery” to today’s travel boom—that reveals how Machu Picchu was transformed into both a global travel destination and a powerful symbol of the Peruvian nation. Rice shows how the growth of tourism at Machu Picchu swayed Peruvian leaders to celebrate Andean culture as compatible with their vision of a modernizing nation. Encompassing debates about nationalism, Indigenous peoples' experiences, and cultural policy—as well as development and globalization—the book explores the contradictions and ironies of Machu Picchu's transformation. On a broader level, it calls attention to the importance of tourism in the creation of national identity in Peru and Latin America as a whole.
Ryan Tripp (Ph.D., History) is currently an adjunct in History at Los Medanos Community College and Southern New Hampshire University.