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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 23, 2009 9:01:41 PM PST
Rocky Wood says:
As a rollicking tale 'The Lost City of Z' is enjoyable, but is it non-fiction. References are not given for a series of escalating and outrageous claims (including entire parties of thousands disappearing into the Amazon). Finally a fact that was easy to check - the claim in Chapter 4 that the target of author Grann's search, Percy Fawcett's father was, "... one of the Empire's great batsmen in cricket." One can only presume Grann simply copied a source without checking as a simple internet search at the world's leading cricket site, www.cricinfo.com, proves that Grann played only 21 First Class games (and never played for England) - his batting average was just under 9. For Americans and others who don't follow cricket a 'good' batting average for the later 19th century was probably in the mid-30s, and 'great' would be someone like W.G.Grace who averaged 39 in first class and 32 in Test cricket. How is it that Fawcett's father, Edward Boyd Fawcett, can be 'one of the Empire's great batsmen' with a batting average a quarter of others? It's just plain wrong. The problem then becomes that all (not some, all) of the unreferenced claims in the book come into question. With no references how would one ever check the miscellany of claims made in this book?

Posted on Feb 6, 2010 1:14:49 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2010 5:38:12 PM PST
First of all, when I saw this post for the book (which I just finished and enjoyed greatly), I thought maybe there would be discussion of some integral flaw in the premise of this book. Instead we're talking about cricket scores ...

I interpret the statement in question as such: "...one of the empire's great batsmen" implies that the empire had great batsmen. The reputation of the empire's batsmen was that of greatness --Fawcett's father was one of them.

If a baseball team wins the World Series, even the worst player on that team is "One of the great [TEAM] that won the World Series!" ...

Posted on Mar 2, 2010 9:14:29 AM PST
I'm not sure what version of the book D.R.Wood read, but my Vintage paperback has Notes and Bilbliography, pages 331-383. That is 50+ pages of notes and sources, aka References. Perhaps Wood would like to borrow my copy? I would love to know if he can disprove something other than a subjective claim of "greatness" in sports.
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Participants:  3
Total posts:  3
Initial post:  Dec 23, 2009
Latest post:  Mar 2, 2010

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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann (Hardcover - February 24, 2009)
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