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)
David Grann produces a worthy read with "Z". He painstakingly pieces together the mystery of Percy Fawcett's fate while undergoing his own quest. This is an exciting, well documented journey into one man's obsession that alighted the world in the 1920s -- and you'll walk away with a sense of what it was really like to enter an unknown world. The unbelievable hardships and courage to undertake such an adventure will astound -- and just when you think you've got it all figured out -- the ending will amaze.
Held my interest all the way through. The accounts of the incredibly difficult journeys through the Amazon are spell-binding. The fact that these explorers actually carried out and survived these adventures is really amazing. And, the narration was great.
I want to be an adventurer! During the listening to The lost CIty of Z I several times damned the satellites surrounding our earth, griding out every inch of it and making all explorations so easy.
I recommend it firmly to those of you who want an insight in the world of explorers i the lats 19th and early 20th century. Well written.
This is a terrific non-fiction book from start to finish. Written from the perspective of a writer about to retrace the 1925 lost expedition of Percy Fawcett, it incorporates Fawcett's obsession with finding a lost city in the Amazon that he has no information about other than having convinced himself it exists. The author smoothly transitions from Fawcett's time to the present and back including historical perspectives of the late 19th, early 20th century. If you've listened to or read 1492, you're familiar with how the New World Indians were considerably more numerous and their culture more advanced until the Europeans arrived with new diseases that decimated their populations. That's wrapped into the interesting conclusion. It's an adventure, an education and provides great insight into the Green Hell of the Amazon.
I found this book very disappointing. The author often references the excellent River of Doubt, which is what anyone interested in this kind of story should read. I don't know why this book got so much hype, it was one of the few audible titles that I could barely get through.
Adventure, anthropology, mystery
Any mention of bugs burrowing and living under the skin of the men for long periods of time...I can't get those images out of my head!
This was my first.
No extreme reaction, and definitely no laughing! It was very relate-able though, so I feel like I really got to know the men and what they were going through. This story will stick with me for a while.
It was a little dry in places, but isn't most non-fiction? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a case study in adventure, in native people, in the rain forest, and in human nature. Not that having a movie based on a book should denote its success, but I honestly cannot believe there is not a movie based on this one, given the number of people who tromped off into uncharted territory looking for the original lost crew, and then those who went off looking for them when they didn't return! The amount of fame given to this "Lost City of Z" in it's day is amazing, and that I'd never heard of it before I read this book, even more so! I also thought it was amazing how awful the natives were treated (maimed, tortured, killed by the hundreds and thousands) by early explorers, and that THAT has not received more attention in our history books or by Hollywood.
I also read Endurance, about a shipwreck in the Antarctic, and found it absolutely fascinating, if not unbearably unlucky, that one of the men who survived that hell went on to experience this one.
All in all, I would recommend this to a friend. If you love history, exploration, and/ or real-life mysteries, this book is for you!
Well researched true story of the last British adventurer/treasure seeker. Fausett was quite willing to sacrifice his life and that of his expedition to find truth and to map the last unexplored last blank space on the map.
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.
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.
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