About the Book

Written by his son Alfred M. Bingham, this biography conveys the ambitious, multifaceted personality of Hiram Bingham III, the explorer who rediscovered the lost Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.  It is a life of both high accomplishments and very human failings.

The son and grandson of New England missionaries in the Pacific, Hiram Bingham was raised to carry on the family tradition within the church.  But rebelling against the piety and poverty of his background, he chose instead an academic career and married an heiress, a grand-daughter of the founder of Tiffany and Co.

His overnight acquisition of great wealth opened many opportunities to Bingham.  During his career as an academic specializing in Latin American history, the Tiffany money helped support five scientific expeditions, one of which led to Machu Picchu and his lasting fame.  Later it also facilitated a political career, culminating in his serving two terms as a U. S. Senator from Connecticut.

This book chronicles Hiram Bingham's achievements, with emphasis on the explorations of which he was most proud, as well as some of his more questionable actions.  His adventurous character is brought to life in all its human complexity.

This 'must have' book chronicling Hiram Bingham's South American explorations and his 'discovery' of the famous lost Inca city is lavishly illustrated with many photos, maps and sketches.  Most are by Hiram Bingham and other members of the Peruvian expeditions.  This book should be of interest both to the serious scholar of Inca history and culture as well as the traveller interested in learning more about the events leading to Machu Picchu becoming the great tourist attraction that it is today.

This book was originally published in 1989 under the title Portrait of an Explorer: Hiram Bingham, Discoverer of Machu Picchu.

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This page last updated Wednesday, 20 August, 2003