Saturday, April 18, 2009

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


by David Grann

This is the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett who led several expeditions into the Amazon in the early 1900's to help better map out the border between Bolivia and Brazil. The current belief at the time was that the Amazon couldn't have housed a large civilized society (like the golden city of El Dorado that so many before Percy had searched for), that only small tribes could survive in such a region. Through his many explorations Fawcett began to believe otherwise.

In 1925 he headed out again with two other men (one being his 21-year-old son) looking for this lost city he dubbed Z. He believed he knew where to look after years of research and experience and that he would make one of the most important archaeological discoveries in history.

The group simply vanished. What happened to Fawcett? Did they die from starvation? Did illness finally get the better of him and his group? Or were they kidnapped or killed by some of the hostile tribes in the area?

Many have gone searching to see if they could find out what happened to Fawcett's expedition or to find his lost city of Z. Many have died in the search, been captured by tribes or went missing, just like Fawcett.

The author begins his research and finds previously unknown information on where Fawcett went and ends up going into the jungle himself to see what he can uncover about the "greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century." Does he discover what happened to Fawcett? Does he find the lost city of Z?

This is a great book that I highly recommend. I found it to be extremely interesting. I thought the author did a very good job of jumping between the past and the present to tell us the tale of Fawcett and his own personal journey into the Amazon. The novel is full of interesting details about Percy's life and his expeditions. I can't believe anyone survived going into the Amazon and would keep going back. The illnesses you could catch so easily were horrible! I also liked hearing about the author's own personal research and journey.

5 stars

A side note: Apparently Brad Pitt has bought the rights to the book and plans on making a movie out of it. It should be a good one!

3 comments:

Stephanie said...

Argh! I can't stand suspense. I want to know how this ends!!!

Lula O said...

Me too!! I'm so excited to read this. And Brad Pitt partially clothed and sweating in the jungle? Should be good!

Anonymous said...

Lula - FYI, the Kindle 2.5 is coming out! 9.5 inch screen, direct pdf reader etc. Here's some spy shots: http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/04/amazon-kindle-dx-to-feature-9-7-inch-display/

-Chris