The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z

A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

Book - 2009
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After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, he embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization--which he dubbed "Z"--existed. Then he and his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate--and the clues he left behind--became an obsession for hundreds who followed him. As Grann delved deeper into Fawcett's mystery, and the greater mystery of the Amazon, he found himself irresistibly drawn into the "green hell".
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385513531
0385513534
Characteristics: xi, 339 p., [16] p. of plates : ill ; 25 cm

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k
KMH1993
Oct 31, 2017

Though I never really read books like this one, I have found this story to be a really great one. From the very first paragraph of Fawcett and his son stepping on the boat to begin what would end up being their very last adventure to the encounters other people have had trying to find out the mystery that became of them, each moment captivated my interest into wanting to find out for myself. Though I do warn that there are some moments where it does get a little descriptive on what it was like to explore uncharted places back in that era. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book.

p
pmamut
Aug 24, 2017

Loved this book. The author's writing style is compelling and makes the book a real page-turner. Highly recommend.

b
BlueHippo
Apr 21, 2017

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author is able to transition from the hsistrical story of Fawcett to his own story of investigation smoothly and clearly for the reader. Well-defined historical characters and vivid descriptions of situations encountered on the treks. I do find it amusing that (as ismany times the case), the Fawcet's were supposedly reduced to basically poverty (or so it is claimed) and yet they had money to move around the world-literally! From England to some tropical island to California and back to England. Hummmmmmmmm.......! My only issue with the actual writing of the book is that the author is, like so many of his New Yorker ilk, a little self-impressed and wants to be sure you know how smart he is so he uses a lot of "big" (read "archaic") words whensimpler words or phrases would have sufficed and then my reading would not have been peppered with interruptions to look up the definition of a word.

j
jmcc13
Jul 09, 2016

Very interesting read. I knew nothing of South American history until I read this book. I'm not very interested in learning more.

b
becker
Jun 28, 2016

There are lots of really interesting facts and scenarios in this book for anyone who enjoys adventure reading. Be patient through the first part of the book which I thought was poorly organized and unfocused. The action and adventure picks up as you go along and the facts about Amazon exploration in the early 20th century are quite amazing.

v
vv8
Aug 16, 2015

This work of narrative nonfiction was fascinating! It delves into exploration, dangerous adventures, the Amazon, the Amazon's many critters, colonialism, treasure, and more. I learned a lot and was entertained as well!

AbigailCurious Jun 30, 2015

It's not a book about the adventures in the amazon and the journey to find the lost city of Z (at least not in the first 80 pages). Rather it's a book all the people that ever attempted to find the city of Z and the people around them.

d
di0nysus
Sep 25, 2014

I found this book boring. I didn't get past the 1st 50 pages.

r
rsalvino1
Oct 25, 2013

There isn't a yellow brick road on this adventure to the Lost City of Z, and the flying monkeys, wicked witches, Munchkins, and wizard have been replaced by parasitic worms that burrow into your skin, boa constrictors, natives with poison-tipped arrows, and a well-funded American explorer who threatens to discover 'Z' before Percy Fawcett--the story's protagonist--does, yet this book fields an equally amazing cast of characters and setting. The story and its characters are as complex and intricate as the Amazon itself. Percy Fawcett, a real life Indiana Jones, is at once heroic, superhuman, compassionate, and deeply flawed. He is one of the first Europeans to see the humanity of the native inhabitants of the Amazon, yet he drives his fellow European explorers so hard that some of them die, and he allows his family to sink into a state of destitution so that he can carry on in the Amazon. The Amazon cast such a strong spell on the first Europeans to accidentally journey down the river (Francisco Orelleana and his crew in the 1530s) that, once they set foot back on European soil, they dedicated their entire efforts to returning (their story, River of Darkness, is an excellent read). Same for Percy Fawcett. He was alive when he was on an exploration in the Amazon. Back home, he dreamed of returning. David Grann does a wonderful job of capturing that obsession in Fawcett. But this is more than a story of a man. It is also a story of a place. Here again, Grann carries the reader to the Amazon of the 1920's. He also incidentally carries you to the diminished Amazon of today--one that may fill you with regret.

s
sess430
Oct 19, 2013

Born in England in 1868, raised in exotic places in the far East, Colonel Percy Fawcett was obsessed with finding the fabled city of El Dorado that he code-named 'Z'. The tale describes his dangerous treks into the Amazonian jungle to search for it. Supposedly he was a model for the Indiana Jones character. The author also made a trek of his own into the Amazon in search of some answers. It's an interesting story of obsession gone crazy.

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notTom Dec 16, 2010

In his search for a lost city in the Amazon, hardened explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett entered the jungle in 1925 and never returned. In the following decades, many people have gone in search of Fawcett and the lost Amazonian civilization that he fervently believed in only to have come away empty-handed, if at all. David Grann contends that people have been searching in the wrong place and undertakes his own quest to discover Fawcett's fate using newly-released documents and Fawcett's own personal journals and notes as his guides. His book is an engaging account of what drives people, including himself, to immerse themselves in one of the world's most dangerous areas. Grann comes upon some surprising results that are changing how people view the native cultures of the Amazon.

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