The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

David Grann

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into 'blank spots' on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and unwavering sense of purpose. In 1925, one of the few remaining blank spots in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the impenetrable jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization like El Dorado, which he christened the 'City of Z'. When he and his son set out to find it, hoping to make one of the most important archeological discoveries in history, they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. For the next eighty years, hordes of explorers -- shocked that a man many deemed invincible could disappear in a land he knew better than anyone, and drawn by the centuries-old myth of El Dorado -- searched for the expedition and the city. Many died from starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and poisonous arrows. Others simply vanished. In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and his followers, in a bracing attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries. 4.5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Travel
Format Hardback
Pages 352
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication February 2009
ISBN 978-1847374363
Publisher Simon & Schuster
 

Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into 'blank spots' on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and unwavering sense of purpose. In 1925, one of the few remaining blank spots in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the impenetrable jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization like El Dorado, which he christened the 'City of Z'. When he and his son set out to find it, hoping to make one of the most important archeological discoveries in history, they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. For the next eighty years, hordes of explorers -- shocked that a man many deemed invincible could disappear in a land he knew better than anyone, and drawn by the centuries-old myth of El Dorado -- searched for the expedition and the city. Many died from starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and poisonous arrows. Others simply vanished. In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and his followers, in a bracing attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries.

Read the first chapter on the Washington Post website

Reviews

The Los Angeles Times

Karla Starr

...beautifully written, perfectly paced... Grann recounts Fawcett's missions with unsparing detail, killing all romantic ideas of what transpired in the rain forest. When he and the great Antarctic explorer James Murray explored the border between Bolivia and Peru, Murray's inexperience with the conditions led to a wealth of maladies -- among other things, maggots "growing inside of him. He counted fifty in and around his elbow alone."

15/02/2009

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The New York Times

Michiko Kakutani

Fawcett’s adventures are said to have helped inspire Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel, “The Lost World”... As for Mr. Grann’s book, it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage, and it seems almost surely destined for a secure perch on the best-seller lists.

16/03/2009

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The Washington Post

Marie Arana

The book is a model of suspense and concision... Although Fawcett's story cuts through 100 years of complicated history, Grann follows its twists and turns admirably. Thoroughly researched, vividly told, this is a thrill ride from start to finish.

08/03/2009

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The Spectator

Byron Rogers

Everything in it [rings] true. No nonsense about 60-foot anacondas (‘the longest officially recorded one is 27 feet nine inches’)... No nonsense about visionary explorers either...And no nonsense about lost cities, except that Grann has a surprise in store for the reader in his very last chapter... The main drawback to this book is that he indulges in contrapuntal narratives... the most fascinating part of his book is when he writes about recent archaeological discoveries.

25/03/2009

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The New York Times

Rich Cohen

...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... At times, and perhaps it’s a natural outgrowth of the subject, the book can become tedious, in the way that an obsessed person can become tedious... As for the prose, it’s a bit like the cinematography in a Sydney Pollack film — so deft it’s invisible, at total service to the story, but with none of the tracking or crane shots or wild flights of fancy that linger in the mind.

26/02/2009

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