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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

by David Grann

In 1925, renowned explorer Percy Fawcett took his son and boldly trekked into the Amazon, determined to reveal the location of a lost city he suspected lay hidden beneath the dense jungle canopy.   Neither he nor any members of his party were ever seen again. Journalist David Grann is determined to trace Fawcett’s final steps and discover what ultimately happened to the famous man – succeeding where many have failed over the years – and hopefully, in the process, finding the fabled city Fawcett was willing to risk everything to uncover.

The Lost City of Z was everything I wanted The White Mary  to be, and more. Grann begins his quest by hunting down every last scrap of information Fawcett left behind, in the process piecing together the biography of a fascinating man. If anyone could have located a mythical city in the middle of the jungle, it was Col. Percy Fawcett, a man who had successfully completed multiple excursions into the wild with only the barest of supplies. Grann brings the explorer back from the dead as a larger-than-life Indiana Jones, a man who lives and breathes adventure. But he doesn’t sugarcoat Fawcett’s flaws: the man is clearly obsessed with “Z” to the point that his grip of reality seems tenuous, and he was apparently quite merciless to his assistants in the jungle. Several men who survived an expedition with Fawcett describe a man who seems to be not a hero, but a monster. He is a fascinating, complex character and, it seems, the last of a dying breed.

Just as captivating as Fawcett’s original explorations are Grann’s attempts to recreate his path and track down the explorer’s final fate. Usually a writer for The New Yorker, Grann isn’t anyone’s idea of a heroic explorer. It’s pretty clear that without our modern technology, he’d never have been able to attempt to follow Fawcett. But he is a thorough journalist, and an entertaining writer who knows when he has a good story. He takes his reader on a whirlwind adventure that spans the globe.

To read more about The Lost City of Z, buy it or add it to your wishlist, click here.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 8th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
It was really frickin' cool. :D I'm having a good run of books lately, March seems to be my lucky month!
Mar. 8th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
Wonderful review. I have this one sitting in a pile of ARCs waiting to be read.
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
According to at least one guy who had access to Fawcett's remaining family papers, Fawcett would have planned to stay in the jungle and create an utopias commune. Does the writer refer to these claims?
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Writer Grann does mention that theory as he works on his own research, but after his own study of documents (including some family documents that I believe he received through Fawcett's granddaughter; I don't have the book in front of me so I can't check for sure) did not come to the same conclusion.
Mar. 10th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
I really liked this one too. It was fun to read such an entertaining nonfiction book.
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
I’m just dropping by to let you know that I’ve given you an award! http://athomewithbooks.blogspot.com/2009/03/awards-roundup.html
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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