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A 5,000-mile chain of volcanoes, deep valleys, and upland plains, the Andes form the spectacular backbone of South America. Jason Wilson explores this vast mountain range, capturing the Andes'' mystery and power. Tapping the insights of chroniclers, scientists, and modern-day novelists, Wilson starts at sacred Cuzco and Machu Picchu, moves along imagined Inca routes south to Lake Titicaca, La Paz, Potosi, and then follows the Argentine and Chilean Andes to Patagonia. He then moves north through Chimborazo, Quito, and into Colombia, along the Cauca Valley up to Bogota and east to Caracas. On a journey through time as much as across space, ranging from the Spanish conquest to the struggles of indigenous Indians in Bolivia today, Wilson looks at everything from Andean food and wildlife, to the shamans, drugs, and gods that constitute the serrano''s everyday life.