After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth 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 worlds 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 Doyles The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilizationwhich he dubbed Zexisted. Then he and his expedition vanished.
Fawcetts fateand the tantalizing clues he left behind about Zbecame an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcetts party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcetts 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 jungles green hell. His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcetts fate and Z form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.
... Ultimately, Grann's strategy doesn't pay off, and it doesn't elevate the book into something more than its subject matter. I will highly recommend this book to anyone I know with an interest in exploration. But this is not a book, like Daniel Everett's Don't Sleep, There are Snakes, that I'll push on everyone I know, whether or not they have an interest in the Amazon. Grann got me interested in Fawcett, but not obsessed. Given the maggots, that's probably a good thing. (Reviewed by Amy Reading).
New York Times - Rich Cohen
The result is a powerful narrative, stiff lipped and Victorian at the center, trippy at the edges, as if one of those stern men of Conrad had found himself trapped in a novel by García Márquez.
Wall Street Journal - Simon Winchester
Oh, please. It is all just too pat, too wanting in healthy skepticism. Sure, after all the mud and scratched knees and far too many astronaut dinners, Mr. Grann surely wanted to go home to Brooklyn. But I wish he had lingered and considered the legacy of the poor, mad and utterly memorable Percy Harrison Fawcett. Though Brad Pitt might never notice, it would have made for an even better book.
Entertainment Weekly - Thom Geier
[A] fascinating yarn that touches on science, history, and some truly obsessive personalities. A–
Like the books of Simon Winchester, this is a compelling and entertaining read.
A colorful tale of true adventure, marked by satisfyingly unexpected twists, turns and plenty of dark portents.
Starred Review. ... Grann provides an in-depth, captivating character study that has the relentless energy of a classic adventure tale.
Erik Larson, author of Thunderstruck, Devil in the White City and Isaac's Storm.
David Grann's The Lost City of Z is a deeply satisfying revelation - a look into the life and times of one of the last great territorial explorers, P. H. Fawcett, and his search for a lost city in the Amazon. I mean, what could be better - obsession, mystery, deadly insects, shrunken heads, suppurating wounds, hostile tribesmen - all for us to savor in our homes, safely before the fire.
Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower and In the Heart of the Sea.
The Amazon has had many chroniclers but few who can match David Grann's grasp of history, science, and especially narrative. Shifting seamlessly between the past and present, The Lost City of Z is a riveting, totally absorbing real-life adventure story.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by warren Lost City of Z Disappoints I really wanted to like this book and, after the first few chapters, was really getting into it. The book turned out to be primarily about the wanderings of Col. Fawcett in the Amazon, and very little about the lost city. There are a few debates... Read More
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 lost city. His
website links to articles at NPR and National Geographic.
to the frivolous
Fawcett was lured into the jungle by an erotic spirit guide, so says
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...