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Publisher's Summary

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Certainly doesn't meet the hype

What would have made The Lost City of Z better?

A contiguous, forward moving plot.

Has The Lost City of Z turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Deakins?

Yes. The narrator did a fine job, not the emotion and attention to detail of other narrators but a fine job.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

This book was a disappointment. There really is hardly a story here, mostly just a jumble of anecdotes about the horrors explorers have faced in the Amazon. It's somewhat akin to the distracted, clickbait world of today's social media structure where the attention is focused on flashy but irrelevant tidbits. The underlying story certainly has interest to it but the way it's told here is more like watching someone learn to drive a stick shift than it is a comprehensive story.

Any additional comments?

I believe this is a rare occurrence when the movie will be better than the book.

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  • Dave
  • United States
  • 06-11-17

Well-told, true-life adventure story

What other book might you compare The Lost City of Z to and why?

"Born to Run," oddly enough. Both are stories about lost or near-lost civilizations as well as tales of incredible human endurance. And in both books, the author's presence as a character enhances rather than detracts from the story.

Have you listened to any of Mark Deakins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Any additional comments?

Superb nonfiction writing. I've added more David Grann books to my Audible Wish List. Narrator does an excellent job.

  • Overall

One of the best books in years

I love adventure, I also love archeology. This book will take you beyond adventure, it will have you living the adventure. Seeing real people as they lived in the nineteenth century, in the Amazon, and feeling the horrible results of starvation, disease, and death. These men had real courage!

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Great book

A captivating book about science and Indiana Jones style adventure. It details the fascinating adventure story of Colonel Fossett and his obsession with a Lost Amazonian civilization. However, it's told from the analytical eye of a journalist that is fighting being drawn in to both the legends a Fossett and the legend of the lost city of Z.

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Keeps you interested through and through.

A fascinating tale of obsession and expedition, which seem to go hand in hand. They go into every detail, and thoroughly convinced me to never visit the Amazon (the botflies alone...). Great narration, the story carries itself along nicely.

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Best audiobook ever

This is easily the best audiobook I have ever listened to. It's so engrossing that the time absolutely flies by. Full of things that would be unimaginable today, like when Fawcett doesn't know World War I started until he receives a letter deep in the Amazon. Highly recommended.

  • Overall

Worth Reading

The wonderful book "River of Doubt" is not about Fawcett or the lost city of Z, so why anyone would suggest reading it instead of this book is beyond me. Very interesting account of Fawcett's passionate quest.Offers a good description of his personality.Can't say I like him much.I really did like the book and narration however. It didn't answer all the questions but gives a good idea of what happened to Fawcetts last journey.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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not what I expected at all.

not what I expected at all. The story was good and interesting but I thought it would be written more like a novel. I wanted more detail.

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Was "OK"

Choppy... Thought I would enjoy it more. Was lack luster. Needed more excitement. BUT I did because curious and started to read about the truly real lives of the characters. Thank you for that inspiration.

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Not bad.

Had some extremely boring info at the beginning but once it settled into the meat and taters of the story it was pretty darn interesting.
I have to say though that I found it a bit irritating that the author seemed to run across (and so casually) the " plausible answer" to the entire mystery of Z at the end of his journey.
Otherwise I would say a pretty interesting read.