Life and Death in the Andes by Kim MacQuarrie

Celebrated writer and documentary filmmaker, Kim MacQuarrie, just released his latest book "Life and Death in the Andes."
Landscape of snow-covered mountains and yellow-green hills in the Peruvian Andes Mountains.
The Peruvian Andes. Image by Yolanda Coervers from Pixabay.

The Andes Mountains slice through South America, stretching 4,500 miles from Colombia all the way down to Chile’s southernmost tip. Amid the shadows of these mighty peaks ancient civilizations have thrived, heroes were born, and political and social movements brewed.

In his new book Life and Death in the Andes, Kim MacQuarrie, an award-winning filmmaker, anthropologist, and journalist, shines the spotlight on enigmatic highlights of South America’s past and present. Mixing history, interviews, and tales from the road, MacQuarrie links the different stories in each chapter with the presence of the Andes and his own exploration through the famous mountain range.

The book features a wide range of stories, from conversations with the last speaker of a language on an island in Tierra del Fuego to age-old accounts of an Incan girl sacrificed atop a Peruvian snow-capped peak.

book cover - Life and death of the Andes

“Each story I set out to explore had a totally unique history unrelated to the others,” he says. “For one story I was researching Charles Darwin and for another Pablo Escobar, or Che Guevara, or Butch Cassidy, or some other character.”

MacQuarrie first came to South America as a graduate student in anthropology.  His short-term fieldwork in Peru turned into an adventure living with a recently-contacted tribe in the Amazon for four years in the 1980s and 1990s. Work on various documentary film projects, such as the multiple-Emmy-winning Spirit of the Amazon, and other adventures have always brought him back to this part of the world.  

Life and Death in the Andes is MacQuarrie’s fourth book about South America. Released in early December 2015, the book has already received critical acclaim from top news and travel sites.  

New York Times Book Review raves: “MacQuarrie writes smartly and engagingly and with…enthusiasm about the variety of South America’s life and landscape.”

The National Geographic Traveler says: “The human history that has shaped South America is dramatically re-created in this rich account of iconic Andes characters, from Pablo Escobar and Hiram Bingham to Che Guevara and Butch Cassidy.”

Kim MacQuarrie standing at the stone ruinsKim MacQuarrie at the Inca ruins of Pisac, Peru, in the Sacred Valley.

As one of our Peru Specialists, MacQuarrie works closely with our team, and we’re very excited to be able to share his latest work with our travelers.

Life and Death in the Andes is available at bookstores across the country, or online at or Barnes and Noble.