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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

by

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Cover

 

Staff Pick

Grann's riveting book, The Lost City of Z, delves into the intrepid life and mysterious disappearance of legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett. Armchair travelers will be whisked away to the Amazon on a wild ride with a surprising finish.
Recommended by Michal D., Powells.com

A true-life, amazing Amazon adventure-mystery. David Grann, mild-mannered reporter, treks into the Amazon to retrace the path of the legendary (and seemingly super-human) British explorer Percy Fawcett. Skillfully researched and written, The Lost City of Z is an fascinating read.
Recommended by Adrienne, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"'I call it Z,' wrote Fawcett of his fabled metropolis, 'for the sake of convenience'....Fawcett's case for the existence of Z grew out of his appreciation of the expertise native Amazonians demonstrated in extracting medicine and food from their harsh environment...." Greg Grandin, the Nation (read the entire Nation review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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 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 around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-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. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. 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.

Review:

Is there any place so boundlessly captivating as a jungle? Its labyrinth of green. Its rich botanical promise. Its seemingly infinite swarm of life. We sit in our comfortable chairs and imagine its wonders, yet those who truly know it call it "a counterfeit paradise," for despite its allure and splendor, the jungle is profoundly hostile to man.

The Inca, who once reigned over much... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A fascinating yarn that touches on science, history, and some truly obsessive personalities. Grade: A-" Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The Lost City of Z is at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"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

Review:

"What a wild and adventurous life! In the deft storytelling hands of David Grann, explorer Percy Fawcett emerges as one of the most ambitious, colorful, just plain intrepid figures ever to set foot in the New World. Part Indiana Jones, part Livingstone, and part Kit Carson, Fawcett has found his perfect biographer in Grann, who has gamely endured every conceivable Amazonian hardship to piece together the story of this British swashbuckler and his crazed search for a vanished civilization." Hampton Sides

Review:

"With his riveting work, David Grann emerges on our national landscape as a major new talent. His superb writing style, his skills as a reporter, his masterful use of historical and scientific documents, and his stunning storytelling ability are on full display here, producing an endlessly absorbing tale about a magical subject that captivates from start to finish. This is a terrific book." Doris Kearns Goodwin

Review:

"A fantastic story of courage, obsession, and mystery, The Lost City of Z is gripping from beginning to end. In the pantheon of classic exploration tales, this stands out as one of the best." Candice Millard

Review:

"A wonderfully researched true story about an intrepid adventurer, a colorful cast, and an obsession that grips both him and the author." Walter Isaacson

Review:

"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." Nathaniel Philbrick

About the Author

David Grann is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a contributing editor at the New Republic.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Gold Gato, November 25, 2013 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
The Indiana Jones of his day, Colonel Percy Fawcett was obsessed with a legendary city he was convinced existed in the Amazon. Obsession would actually be an understatement. The explorer believed El Dorado was there for him to find, but he disappeared without a trace. Did he and his son die by disease, by the hands of evil bandits, by giant anacondas, or by stone-age tribes?

David Grann does his best to answer the questions surrounding Fawcett, while providing a basic bio of the titular hero of the story. The story is exciting, after all. Giant spiders. Deathly insects. Headhunters. Conquistadores. At times the re-telling gets a bit dry, but I did enjoy being an armchair adventurer with this book.

Book Season = Summer (steaming jungles)
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
saram, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by saram)
I picked up this book by chance, looking for something different, but fully expected to put it down after a few pages because most non-fiction just doesn't capture my attention like well-written fiction does. Much to my surprise I could not put this book down! This is one of those rare non-fiction books that reads like fiction, but since it is a true story, it ends up being one of your favorite books of all time. The story hops between two different men, in two different eras, both seeking "The Lost City of Z." You feel like you are trudging through the Amazon right along with them. Read the first chapter and I bet you won't be able to put it down.
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Fay, January 8, 2011 (view all comments by Fay)
A very well-written account of Fawcett's obsession to find the lost city, as well as the travails of everyone who subsequently attempted to find Fawcett, and of course the author's adventures in following in all of their footsteps. Vivid descriptions of the jungle environment should be required reading for anyone who is casually thinking of undertaking such a trip.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385513531
Author:
Grann, David
Publisher:
Doubleday Books
Author:
Gann, David
Subject:
General
Subject:
Expeditions & Discoveries
Subject:
Latin America - South America
Subject:
Explorers
Subject:
Travel
Subject:
Amazon River Region Description and travel.
Subject:
El dorado
Subject:
General History
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16-PAGE B/W PHOTO INSERT
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 in 1.45 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Exploration » New World
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » South America
Travel » Travel Writing » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Latin America

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385513531 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Grann's riveting book, The Lost City of Z, delves into the intrepid life and mysterious disappearance of legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett. Armchair travelers will be whisked away to the Amazon on a wild ride with a surprising finish.

"Staff Pick" by ,

A true-life, amazing Amazon adventure-mystery. David Grann, mild-mannered reporter, treks into the Amazon to retrace the path of the legendary (and seemingly super-human) British explorer Percy Fawcett. Skillfully researched and written, The Lost City of Z is an fascinating read.

"Review A Day" by , "'I call it Z,' wrote Fawcett of his fabled metropolis, 'for the sake of convenience'....Fawcett's case for the existence of Z grew out of his appreciation of the expertise native Amazonians demonstrated in extracting medicine and food from their harsh environment...." (read the entire Nation review)
"Review" by , "A fascinating yarn that touches on science, history, and some truly obsessive personalities. Grade: A-"
"Review" by , "The Lost City of Z is at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "What a wild and adventurous life! In the deft storytelling hands of David Grann, explorer Percy Fawcett emerges as one of the most ambitious, colorful, just plain intrepid figures ever to set foot in the New World. Part Indiana Jones, part Livingstone, and part Kit Carson, Fawcett has found his perfect biographer in Grann, who has gamely endured every conceivable Amazonian hardship to piece together the story of this British swashbuckler and his crazed search for a vanished civilization."
"Review" by , "With his riveting work, David Grann emerges on our national landscape as a major new talent. His superb writing style, his skills as a reporter, his masterful use of historical and scientific documents, and his stunning storytelling ability are on full display here, producing an endlessly absorbing tale about a magical subject that captivates from start to finish. This is a terrific book."
"Review" by , "A fantastic story of courage, obsession, and mystery, The Lost City of Z is gripping from beginning to end. In the pantheon of classic exploration tales, this stands out as one of the best."
"Review" by , "A wonderfully researched true story about an intrepid adventurer, a colorful cast, and an obsession that grips both him and the author."
"Review" by , "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."
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