Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Inca Town, written by Fiona Macdonald and illustrated by Mark Bergin, Grolier Publishing1998.

Inca Town is an interesting book.  It present an Inca community, most likely Cusco, at the end of the 15th century, or the Incan Empire’s most prosperous time.  This was before an internal rebellion, and before the arrival of the Spanish.  This book presents several different Incan ideas, but does say no one knows exactly what things were like.  Among other things it mentions the moving of those conquered to different areas, and thus avoid the chance of rebellion.  It shows a picture of an enemy’s eyes being removed so we will not be able to participate or plan battles any more.  It also mentions the practice of sacrifice, generally of the Sun Maidens, or woman selected for their beauty and talents.  Some just made chichi (an alcoholic beverage) or wove fine linens.  However some were also honored with the task of being sacrificed to the Sun.  It mentions children were also sacrificed at times. 
It also shows farming; which was difficult at high elevations.  Incan farmers are known for terraces, and irrigation.   They raised potatoes, corn, beans and gourds.  Their diet was mostly vegetarian.  There were also craftspeople.  Those who worked with clay, or carved stone or wood, and also those who worked previous metals.  All these people were taxed by a percentage of their produce.  Also taxes were levied in the form of labor.  This is how many communal projects were completed.  Religious ceremonies were important to the Incas.  The would have processions in which they would show of their finest items to the Sun God. 
I found this book interesting.  It was illustrated throughout with cut-out buildings so you could see inside.  Sometimes it was difficult to tell if a wall or something was cut away or if that was the way it actually looked. 

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