BookBrowse Reviews The Lost City of Z by David Grann

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The Lost City of Z

A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

By David Grann

The Lost City of Z
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  • Hardcover: Feb 2009,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2010,
    416 pages.

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What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

I liked precisely half of this book. David Grann chose to structure The Lost City of Z as two stories interleaved with one another, the even chapters devoted to one story and the odd chapters jumping over to the other. This is not an uncommon strategy and it can work beautifully—think Erik Larson's Devil in the White City or Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and Then You Fall Down—but it does have a built-in risk, namely that the reader will find herself drawn more to one story than the other, skimming every other chapter in her eagerness to get to the good stuff. And that's how I experienced this book.

The first, more conventional story is an engrossing, well-paced narrative history of Colonel Percy Fawcett's obsession with finding an ancient, lost city in the uncharted jungle of the Amazon. Fawcett's story is the kind of juicy history that is...

Photo: Colonel Percy Fawcett, born 1867

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