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)
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.
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!
Very well read, excellently researched, and author David Grann mixes himself so well into the mystery of the missing colonel, I seriously began to worry he would vanish as well into the Amazon jungles (and perhaps translate this volume via spiritualism). Haunting, truly, the real-life characters and quests live and breathe again, and I was sad that this book had to end. I would not have minded another 8 hours or so. Compelling stuff, we really, really do want to know what happened to the intrepid colonel and his son, and we empathize with the surviving family that fretted and worried to the proverbial end. Sadly, we do not have the answer yet (or do we?) and like El Dorado itself, Colonel Percy Fawcett, the perfect archetype of stiff-upper-lip British courage, is now legendary (and I half expect him and his son to still turn up, popping back through the underground portal, young and vital, waving the keys to El Dorado). Art et Amour Toujours
I followed the advice of reviewers for this book and listened to River of Doubt first. I agree that it is a more entertaining book, but after finishing it I was still sufficiently curious to pick up this one as well. The story is interesting, but I felt a bit mislead about what it was going to be about. The description bills the story as an investigative reporter trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of Percy Fawcett's party in the Amazon. The book is really more a detailed history of Fawcett and his motivations and then an exploration of the many people who subsequently tried unsuccessfully to find out definitively what happened to Fawcett over the years. This story was quite interesting, though Fawcett does not come out looking particularly well. However, the actual exploration of the author sort of concludes in an anti-climactic way because while he decides that he has learned the truth about what happened to Fawcett, it is based on a third-hand account that had been previously reported so it was not exactly new ground being covered. Honestly it seemed obvious from the outset that there was never going to be any way to prove what happened definitively without actually recovering Fawcett's remains (or those of his son or Raleigh Rimell), a task that seemed next to impossible due to drastic changes to the land in that area. It is interesting for the history of Fawcett and other Amazonian explorers, but River of Doubt is far superior for the description of the experience of exploring the Amazon.
Loved the book. I love adventure stories based on real-life adventures, and if you have a similar taste you will want to read this book.
The focus is not only on the legendary lost city of Z, but on the mystery surrounding Percy Fawcett who disappeared in the Amazon without a trace in 1925. The book provides a lot of historical background of the times and about the men who took on the challenge. The book is well-researched and you want to continue reading to see how it will end.
I was expecting a tale of adventure or something along those lines, this is just a recount of history, told in a fairly monotone way that makes it hard to pay attention. I eventually got lost enough to give up and didn't finish the listen. For those into history on this subject, it is very factual and would prove to be interesting, just not for me.
As a rule history books do not interest me. I wasn't aware this was more of a history book than a story.
Yes, some years hence. The interplay of diverse characters, ethnic groups, cultural practices and geographic locations combine to offer a unique adventure that transcends space and time.
The author. He successfully orchestrates and integrates the disparate elements of the story, while implying that he is just an ordinary guy, and not an adventure seeker.
Prounciation of geographic name places and persons is most effective.
The descriptions of expedtion members strengths and frailities when facing obstacles of injury, sickness, insufficient food and mental stress.
I became so caught up in the story that I found myself referring to a map of Brazil to follow the route. This helped clarify the story.
No. I thought it would be an adventure but it read more like a piece of history.
I'll be tuning into Deep Survival
The performance was fine, very even keel.
No. I didn't even finish it. I got to about the last 20 minutes and decided it was enough. I may return to finish it up.
The story was hard to follow. There was the central thread of Percy Fawcett's exploration but there were so many other search parties going on that I couldn't follow what year it was and which exploration was being discussed. A little confusing and not really an adventure. More a historical dissection of the exploration of the Amazon.
Dahlonega, Georgia USA
A very entertaining listen that is very well produced in all aspects of the audio format. The author does a great job with admittedly sometimes scant and speculative material.
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