After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?
In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history.
For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle's The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, Fawcett 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 tantalizing clues he left behind about "Z", became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett's party and the lost City of Z. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett's quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle's "green hell". His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett's fate and "Z" form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.
©2009 David Grann; (P)2009 Random House
"The story of Z goes to the heart of the central questions of our age. In the battle between man and a hostile environment, who wins? A fascinating and brilliant book." (Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point)
As a voracious audible listener Im very familiar with publishers marketing of a title. However in this example its misleading. In effect you will listen to the biography, admittedly of a very interesting character, but its not what is advertised.
As another reviewer stated..how many times can you say the same thing in different ways? The answer in this case ad infinitum! The story is disjointed and feels in all honesty like a rewriting of someone's memoirs.
However three stars as the narration and production are excellent.
I really enjoyed learning so much about south america and exploration throughout the last decade. the timeline was a bit hard to stay with as the author bounced between present and pasts a lot.
I couldn't offer a better review than that given by Jennifer, except that I rate this book a five because it succeeded in completely captivating my attention for several days - without any distractions that detract from the story. The narration was excellent.
This book brought back memories of trudging through the forests of Upper Michigan with my Dad and friends during the 1960's, in search of the mythical (to us) Cliff Lake which was reputed to offer some of the best fishing anywhere. It took us many summers but we eventually found it.
Extensive press raised my expectations that this would be a notable and memorable book.
Unfortunately, the so so writing failed to bring the subject matter to life. This book pails in comparison to RIVER OF DOUBT (though it quotes from this earlier work).
Here's another situation where the author is unable to bring his characters to life on the page -- or to convey the arc of their journey.
The books promise is sadly done in by its feeble execution.
Not terrible...however, I would advise checking out better options first.
This ausio mp3 is amazing. It is riveting and kept me at the edge of my seat. For anyone who is into the history of Amazonian exploration, this is a good book. Narraiton is excellent!
I am a Nana raising a handicapped grandson. Typically I try to read non-fiction, but enjoy a good thriller as well.
This is the account of one man's attempt to retrace the steps of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett into the Amazon in his search for the lost city of El Dorado, or as Fawcett dubbed it, the city of "Z". The book tells in great detail of many of the explorations of Fawcett and other explorers who dared to venture into this "counterfeit paradise". These explorers encountered poisonous pit vipers & insects, vampire bats, hostile natives, and many other perils in their quests for fame & fortune. Many died from disease or injury. The accounts of these expeditions are chronicled in great detail in the diaries and notes of the explorers. Although David Grann was unable to definitively determine what happened to Percy Fawcett, Jack Fawcett, and Raleigh Rimell on that last fateful expedition, he was able to speak to the Kalapalos Indians, who had preserved an oral history of meeting with the explorers just before they entered into the domain of what the Kalapalos called the "fierce Indians". The men never returned. I found the details about the Amazon to be fascinating, and the obsession of these men to be mind boggling!
Way too many quotes and references to other books and materials. The story never got off the ground. Lots of factual information, but no feeling for the characters while the story itself was lifeless.
I'll keep it in my library to listen to when I'm having difficulty falling asleep.
I can't believe that anyone would think this was an acceptable narration. It really sounds like a computer. It must be. No one could possibly read a story as bad as the narrator.
This is an amazing story about early twentieth century Amazonian exploration, interwoven with the author's own experience writing the book. It's a truly remarkable take, both riveting and horrifying. And there's a little twist at the very end that makes it all seem like a dream come alive. Highly recommended!
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