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The Lost City of Z Unknown Binding – January 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Doubleday (2009)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)

More About the Author

DAVID GRANN is a longtime staff writer at The New Yorker. He has written about everything from New York City's antiquated water tunnels to the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, from the hunt for the giant squid to the mysterious death of the world's greatest Sherlock Holmes expert. His stories have appeared in several Best American writing anthologies, and he has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. A collection of his stories, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, will be published in March 2010.
Photo credit copyright Matt Richman

Customer Reviews

Time and time again I had to restrain myself from turning to the back of the book to see how it ends.
Susan Tunis
Journalist David Grann, a city boy like myself, was fascinated by the story of Fawcett's disappearance while on a quest to find what he called "The Lost City of Z."
Nathan B. Davis
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an exciting and absorbing read about one of history's great characters.
B. Mangum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

344 of 360 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of classic and contemporary tales of adventure, but I don't normally read much non-fiction. However, David Grann's The Lost City of Z sounded too irresistible to ignore. My instincts were right; it ranks among the best thrillers I've read. What a story!

Actually, it's two stories. The first is the life story of Victorian explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett. A member of the Royal Geographical Society, Fawcett was an explorer in the days when much of the globe was truly unknown. He came from a family of modest means, and began his career in the British military stationed in Ceylon. But he achieved worldwide acclaim as an explorer of the Amazonian jungles and river ways.

Grann's book is most concerned with Fawcett's last fateful expedition, but throughout the first couple hundred pages, he recounts Fawcett's entire career and it's enthralling. It's hard to imagine the bravery it took to strike out into the absolute unknown--with little or no communication with civilization--sometimes for years at a time. Fawcett and his companions routinely faced starvation, bloodthirsty indigenous tribes, horrific insect infestations, lethal tropical diseases, deadly white-water rapids, poisonous snakes, anacondas, piranha, and other terrifying creatures. If, for instance, you're wondering what's so horrific about insects, then you haven't been treated to a graphic description of what it's like when a living human is infested with maggots beneath their skin.

Fawcett and his men (always men) faced death constantly, and it seems that he must have lost hundreds of men in the course of his career. Perhaps not hundreds. Fawcett, unlike many of his contemporaries believed in keeping expeditions small. He was far more successful than most.
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79 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The obstacles to proving his theory were overwhelming. As a young man Percy Fawcett became convinced that contrary to conventional wisdom a highly advanced civilization once thrived in the extremely hostile climes of the Amazon. Fawcett made his first foray into the region around 1910 and laid the groundwork for his world famous expedition in 1925. It was a journey from which he and his two associates would never return. "The Lost City of Z: A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazon" chronicles the life of this extraordinary individual and reveals just what he was up against in proving the existence of the ancient city he dubbed simply "Z".

Author David Grann, a staff writer for the New Yorker, unearthed the story of Percy Fawcett in 2004 while doing research for another project. Before long he found himself totally consumed by the Fawcett saga. He talked himself into travelling to Brazil in an attempt to find out once and for all just what happened to Percy Fawcett, his son Jack and Jack's best friend Raleigh Rimell some eight decades earlier. Suffice to say that what he discovered is a real eye-opener. While putting together "The Lost City of Z" David Grann met with members of the Fawcett family and gained access to a cache of Percy's personal papers that were previously unpublished. These documents allowed the author to gain a remarkable insight into the charactor and thought processes of his subject. The inventory of items Grann had the opportunity to look at included Fawcett's diaries and logbooks, the correspondance of his closest exploring companions and his most bitter rivals as well as journals from his military unit during the first World War. As such, it is safe to say that you will find information in this book you simply won't see anywhere else.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Erika Borsos VINE VOICE on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
David Grann has written an exciting book about adventure, exploration, and a mysterious disappearance which occurred in the mid 1920s. Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett had a hardy constitution and a strong desire to find a lost civilization purported to exist within the Amazon jungle of Brazil. The story about such a civilization had been passed around by the Spanish conquistadors, among the first Europeans to explore South America. With the blessing of the Royal Geographical Society based in London, Percy Harrison Fawcett ventured forth with his son and his son's friend along with a local guide and carefully selected equipment. Percy Fawcett had participated in previous expeditions to this part of the world. He survived some harrowing challenges in the past, risking his life to discover and map this part of the world. His wife accepted her husband's need to explore as his destiny. It was a fire which burned within his soul, something he could never give up..

In 1888 he was a twenty one year old Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery for Great Britain and stationed in Ceylon. Part of his love of adventure and exploration developed at this time. It was in Ceylon he had received a letter with mysterious script which had been translated to relay information about lost treasure in a cave. He took a leave and discovered verdant jungles, lovely mountains, pristine beaches and people wearing flowing outfits in all the colors of the rainbow. Fawcett discovered some ruins but never did find lost treasure. However, the rumor of treasure from an ancient king buried in the region awakened his spirit and created a restlessness and need to travel and explore which would stay with him the rest of his life. It was also in Ceylon where he first fell in love.
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