Some 500 years ago there lived a people know as the Incas. They had a thriving civilization going until they were conquered by the Spaniards and blotted out. The Spaniards thought they had destroyed all the cities that the Incas dwelled in. They did not know about Machu Picchu — a city built on a mountain in Peru.

This table sized book is a bit different. It consists of the photography of 100 areas in this place called Machu Picchu. Inside you find a photographic map and all the major points of interest. Every photo is breathtaking and worthy of being framed. This must have been a labor of love for author Mike Torrey to spend so much time waiting for the right moment to snap the picture. The weather wasn’t always working for him. And he had to wait long periods to snap a picture without the tourist in it. He wanted, no doubt, for us to see the picture as a private viewing.

These are the sacred ruins of the Inca people. They lived in the Andes of Peru. It is sitting at an elevation of 8,000 feet and 2,000 feet above the Urabamba River. It was divided into two urban sectors where the Inca lived and an agricultural section where the food was grown and stored.

The whole area was built in about 100 years without the use of wheels or metal tools. It points out how gifted the Incas were as engineers, urban planners, builders and astronomers. They used mostly slave labor much like the pyramids in Egypt. The terrace walls are 60 percent under-ground in order to maintain their structural integrity. The area has a series of 16 fountains fed by a man-made aqueduct system that follows the terraces downward through the urban areas. These provided potable water for the inhabitants.

For you history buffs, some facts. The Inca Empire only existed for about 100 years from 1438 to 1532 AD. The empire covered about 2,500 miles from the Maule River in Chile to Ecuador. It is a Mesoamerican civilization.

The empire of the Incas was conquered by Spain in the 16th century and destroyed. As mentioned above, the Spanish conquerors did not know of Machu Picchu. Today it is known as the forgotten city. It was discovered in 1911.

Some believe it is a country estate. Others believe it was a religious retreat. Today it is a place to visit.

The photographer, Torrey, did a good job of capturing photos without all the tourists. When he was forced to take a picture with a tourist in it he never asked anyone to move out of the way feeling that they were no more important than he was. He tried to focus of what Machu Picchu was revealing at that moment. He did some retouching when he had to.

This book has a great introduction written by Marie Arana both in English and in Spanish.

This coffee table book is one that is a keeper.

Yes. Dane does non-fiction also. Only the best books that pass my desk get reviewed. So write the best looking book reviewer in Santa Monica at smdp_review@yahoo.com and give some feedback.