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Eight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule…
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Eight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule in Unknown Peru (1983)

by Dervla Murphy

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Travels in Peru in the early 80s retracing the steps of the early conquistadors. Here you will get to know why South America runs at 100rpm, the mestizos vs the native indians.

Now waiting for my next set of books to arrive at SCCL.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
Travels in Peru in the early 80s retracing the steps of the early conquistadors. Here you will get to know why South America runs at 100rpm, the mestizos vs the native indians.

Now waiting for my next set of books to arrive at SCCL.
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
Dervla and her nine year old daughter, Rachel, walk 1300 miles through the Andes of Peru from Cjamarca to Cuzco, tracing the same route of the Spanish conquishtadores in 1533.

Dervla and Rachel are accompanied by Juana, their mule--hence the 'eight feet' in the title. Juana is more than a pack animal, she is a caring friend on their otherwise friendless treck.

Dervla Murphy is an award-winning author of more than ten books recounting her fascinating adventures on foot, mule and bicycle.
  CaptainsGirl | Dec 19, 2011 |
Eight Feet in the Andes is exactly my idea of what a good travel book should be. As Dervla Murphy recounts her 1300-mile walk the length of the Andes with nine year-old daughter Rachel and mula bonita Juana, she not only describes the country and their travelling adventures, she also delves into the history of the place and shows us how the people live (and eat). Her writing is charming as is Rachel's, whom she quotes liberally. Her observation is keen and detailed. She reflects honestly on what she sees and experiences.
I don't generally respond to other reviewers' comments, but I have to say that I think Murphy is right in objecting to "progress" that is not appropriate to the culture. She does paint a depressing picture of the life of Andean Indians. I suspect that her perception is true. I was particularly struck by a passage following a day when neither she nor Rachel had eaten anything. Her first reaction was a sort of thankfulness that her daughter had experienced first-hand how the Third World lives. Further reflection elicited this comment: "We may seem (indeed we are) fairly spartan in camparison with your average modern tourist. Yet we need some £90 worth of special clothing to enable us to survive on the puna and we know nothing whatever about real privation. Our treks are just playing with hardship. When we go hungry for a few days, or endure extremes of heat or cold or exhaustion, these are no more than Interesting Experiences. The certainty of plenty and comfort lies before us and we cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like to go hungry and cold for a lifetime."
If I were going to quarrel with her, it would be on her willingness to risk the well-being of her nine year-old to three months of danger exacerbated by the fact that they set out without knowing where their next meal might come from or whether they could find their way through unmarked trails. Rachel is manifestly her mother's daughter - cheerful, uncomplaining, resourceful, observant, and courageous. Short cuts go wrong; slides from earthquakes block their path; Juana has some injuries; they keep going and enjoying. So did I! ( )
1 vote LizzieD | Jan 9, 2010 |
An intensely irritating book. On the one hand she bemoans the poverty of the locals, but then decries every sign of progress she sees. The book drove me mad for this and many other reasons, but I persisted as research for a trip I planned to Peru. The book was of no use in that regard either, unfortunately. ( )
  Sr_Moreno | Jan 9, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0719565162, Paperback)

The eight feet referenced in the title belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter, and an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca near the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital—traveling over 1,300 miles in high altitudes. Despite extreme discomfort and occasional danger, mother and daughter, a formidable duo, were unflagging in their sympathetic response to the perilous beauty and impoverished people of the Andes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The eight feet belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter Rachel and Juana, an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca near the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, over 1,300 miles to the south, travelling at high altitude and with only basic necessities. Despite extreme discomfort and occasional danger, mother and daughter, a formidable duo, were unflagging in their sympathetic response to the perilous beauty and impoverished people of the Andes."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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