A physician from Wisconsin, Dr. Linnea Smith, has been working in the jungle area near Iquitos for several years. She has written a book called La Doctora that provides some excellent information about the area and the challenges of providing medical care to a population that is uncertain about the benefits of western medicine.
Joe Jackson tells the story in The Thief a the End of the World about how rubber became a huge global commodity at the end of the 19th century, the era when Iquitos becomes one of the wealthy boom-towns along the Amazon River. The saga of how rubber tree seeds were secretly smuggled to England and then to Malaysia spins a fascinating tale.
Trail of Feathers by Tahir Shah is an entertaining story about his search for the "birdmen" of Peru. A major portion of this book takes place in the jungles around Iquitos.
Conquistadors by Michael Wood is a good introduction to the Spanish conquest of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs. The book is based on a BBC television series.
If you have a special interest in Machu Picchu, here are some books written by Boulder residents Ken and Ruth Wright: "The Machu Picchu Guidebook;" "Machu Picchu Revealed;" and "Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel."
If you want to learn more about Peru, you can look at the following web sites:
For good reading about individuals who have made an impact in the world, the following books are also good reads: Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in Haiti, Peru, Russia, and the WHO; Three Cups of Tea, the story of Greg Mortenson and his work to establish schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan; and Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, the story of John Wood, founder of "Room to Read."