The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z

A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

Book - 2009
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"After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve 'the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century': what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, he embarked with his 21-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 clues he left behind— became an obsession for hundreds who followed him. As Grann delved deeper into Fawcett's mystery, and the greater mystery of the Amazon, he found himself irresistibly drawn into the 'green hell.'" -- From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2009]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780385513531
0385513534
9781400078455
1400078458
9780525434658
0525434658
Branch Call Number: 918.11 Gr
Characteristics: xi, 339 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

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The Lost City of Z, Week 4

Welcome to the final Online Book Club discussion of The Lost City of Z! How did the end of the book go for you? Did it end like you thought it would?  Wasn't it really sad that Fawcett had to endure such poverty and loss of position after World War I? I thought it was interesting that he fought in the war, but I couldn't believe how hard it was for him to get back to the Amazon after the… (more)

The Lost City of Z, Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Lost City of Z. Are you still enjoying the story? Have you been inspired by Fawcett and are now itching to go and explore? I think this story is reinforcing my inclination to stay inside and not go into creature-infested jungle water. The hardest and most disgusting thing to read in this section was the description of James… (more)


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HCL_staff_reviews Dec 20, 2018

The gripping story of Grann's search through the dense and dangerous Amazon jungle on the path of Colonel Percy Fawcett whose 1925 expedition for El Dorado was never heard from again. — John K., Eden Prairie Library

I can’t think of a better summer read than David Grann’s 2009 book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. This is the fascinating, page turning, nail biting true story of Percy Fawcett, a real-life Indiana Jones type adventurer who inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”, dedicated his life to finding the lost city of El Dorado deep in the Amazonian jungle, and the mystery of what became of him. The task of finding El Dorado is an unimaginably dangerous one; many hundreds have tried, and few have come out of the jungle alive, most disappearing without a trace, even as late as a 1996 expedition where none (of sixteen strong) was ever seen or heard from again. We watch this story unfold through a humorous and unlikely lens: an admittedly out of shape journalist from New York with no experience in the field deciding to go to the jungle and hunt for clues about Fawcett’s journey, 80 years later. Beginning with Fawcett’s early adventuring days hunting down legendary caves filled with gold and jewels in colonial Sri Lanka, to his days “learning how to be an adventurer” in the Royal Geographical Society, and finally to his final days trekking through the Bolivian rainforest, I could not put this book down and it sent me on a series of frenzied Google searches, my mind hungry for more information. I already plan to re-read this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a well written mystery with a side of history. (Submitted by Mandi)

d
dwlueth
Jun 18, 2018

I do not think I would last a week on one of these expeditions. This book is why I read - sending me into the inhospitable jungle where men risked their lives in the quest for knowledge. I enjoyed this very much and have moved the movie to spot #1 in my Netflix queue.

SPPL_János Mar 22, 2018

Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of the great Victorian explorers, so when he and his son disappeared on a 1925 expedition to prove that a large civilization existed in the supposedly inimical Amazon, it made headlines around the world. Little-remembered today, the mystery slowly ensnared journalist David Grann, who soon discovered that he was only the latest in a long line of investigators seeking the fate of the Fawcetts and the lost city. The retelling of the adventures of Fawcett and his usually ill-fated searchers makes for a gripping tale, topped by Grann's own foray into the hostile jungle armed with the Colonel's secret notes, where he discovers that Fawcett's lost civilization may have a basis in truth.

k
KMH1993
Oct 31, 2017

Though I never really read books like this one, I have found this story to be a really great one. From the very first paragraph of Fawcett and his son stepping on the boat to begin what would end up being their very last adventure to the encounters other people have had trying to find out the mystery that became of them, each moment captivated my interest into wanting to find out for myself. Though I do warn that there are some moments where it does get a little descriptive on what it was like to explore uncharted places back in that era. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book.

p
pmamut
Aug 24, 2017

Loved this book. The author's writing style is compelling and makes the book a real page-turner. Highly recommend.

b
BlueHippo
Apr 21, 2017

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author is able to transition from the hsistrical story of Fawcett to his own story of investigation smoothly and clearly for the reader. Well-defined historical characters and vivid descriptions of situations encountered on the treks. I do find it amusing that (as ismany times the case), the Fawcet's were supposedly reduced to basically poverty (or so it is claimed) and yet they had money to move around the world-literally! From England to some tropical island to California and back to England. Hummmmmmmmm.......! My only issue with the actual writing of the book is that the author is, like so many of his New Yorker ilk, a little self-impressed and wants to be sure you know how smart he is so he uses a lot of "big" (read "archaic") words whensimpler words or phrases would have sufficed and then my reading would not have been peppered with interruptions to look up the definition of a word.

j
jmcc13
Jul 09, 2016

Very interesting read. I knew nothing of South American history until I read this book. I'm not very interested in learning more.

b
becker
Jun 28, 2016

There are lots of really interesting facts and scenarios in this book for anyone who enjoys adventure reading. Be patient through the first part of the book which I thought was poorly organized and unfocused. The action and adventure picks up as you go along and the facts about Amazon exploration in the early 20th century are quite amazing.

v
vv8
Aug 16, 2015

This work of narrative nonfiction was fascinating! It delves into exploration, dangerous adventures, the Amazon, the Amazon's many critters, colonialism, treasure, and more. I learned a lot and was entertained as well!

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notTom Dec 16, 2010

In his search for a lost city in the Amazon, hardened explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett entered the jungle in 1925 and never returned. In the following decades, many people have gone in search of Fawcett and the lost Amazonian civilization that he fervently believed in only to have come away empty-handed, if at all. David Grann contends that people have been searching in the wrong place and undertakes his own quest to discover Fawcett's fate using newly-released documents and Fawcett's own personal journals and notes as his guides. His book is an engaging account of what drives people, including himself, to immerse themselves in one of the world's most dangerous areas. Grann comes upon some surprising results that are changing how people view the native cultures of the Amazon.

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