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 beautifullythink 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...
Beyond the Book
If Fawcett's adventures in the Amazon pique your interest, you can hack into
the jungle of research on him and Z with the following as guides
...from the serious
Charles Mann, author of
1491, theorizes on what a
pre-Colombian civilization in the Amazon might have been like in the
David Grann speaks to interviewers at the
New Yorker and the
His original article about Fawcett was published in the
(you may need to register to view it.)
Michael Heckenberger from the
University of Florida, is excavating ancient ruins that indicate Fawcett was
at least partially right in his quest for a...