Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.27 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Paperback – January 26, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Suspenseful. . . . Rollicking. . . . Reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller. . . . 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. Mr. Grann treats us to a harrowing reconstruction of Fawcett’s forays into the Amazonian jungle, as well as an evocative rendering of the vanished age of exploration.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Breathtaking. . . . Grann brings Fawcett’s remarkable story to a beautifully written, perfectly paced fruition. . . . Any writer who can breathe life into letters written by scientists in the early 1900s deserves more than a hat tip.”
—The Los Angeles Times
“Brilliant. . . . Impressively researched and skillfully crafted. . . . Grann makes abundantly clear in this fascinating, epic story of exploration and obsession, [that] the lethal attraction of the Amazon mystery remains strong.”
—The Boston Globe
“A smart biographical page-turner.”
“Grann escapes death and tracks down Z, giving the reader the kind of Indiana Jones kicks best experienced vicariously.”
“A riveting, exciting and thoroughly compelling tale of adventure.”
“Thoroughly researched, vividly told. . . . Grann recounts Fawcett’s expeditions with all the pace of a white-knuckle adventure story. . . . A thrill ride from start to finish.”
—The Washington Post
“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.”
“A spellbinding tale that produces fresh surprises around each turn. . . . An amazing story.”
—Dallas Morning News
“A fascinating yarn that touches on science, history, and some truly obsessive personalities.”
“There is something about Fawcett’s spirit and self-assurance that captivates. . . . To read The Lost City of Z is to feel grateful that Grann himself bothered to set out for the Amazon in search of the bones of an explorer whose body was long ago reclaimed by the jungle.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“In a hyperconnected and exhaustively charted world, here is a revelation about wildness and the mad desire to plunge into it. . . . Unfathomably riveting. . . . Grann wildly delivers the goods.”
“A blockbuster tale of adventure.”
—New York Observer
“Marvelous. . . . [Grann] combines a colorful narrative of Fawcett’s early life, military career, jungle treks, theories and even conversations with a biography of an extraordinary man and an overview of the last great and highly competitive age of exploration.”
“A blood-stirring reading experience.”
—The Denver Post
“A deeply satisfying revelation. . . . What could be better—obsession, mystery, deadly insects, shrunken heads, suppurating wounds, hostile tribesmen—all for us to savor in our homes, safely before the fire.”
“What makes Mr. Grann’s telling of the story so captivating is that he decides not simply to go off in search of yet more relics of our absent hero—but to go off himself in search of the city that Fawcett was looking for so heroically when he suddenly went AWOL.”
—Simon Winchester, The Wall Street Journal
“Fast-paced adventure. . . . Grann delights us with the lure of obsession under a canopy of trees.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Absorbing and fair-minded. . . . In restoring a life that history has swallowed from general view, and vindicating a crackpot theory, Mr. Grann has also exposed the toll that explorers often took on those who loved or depended on them.”
—Richard B. Woodward, The New York Times
“An engrossing book, whose protagonist could outmarch Lara Croft and out-think Indiana Jones. . . . It’s almost enough to make you reach for a backpack.”
—The Daily Telegraph (London)
“A riveting adventure-mystery in the tradition of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, said to be inspired by Fawcett.”
—The Toronto Star
“Perfect for armchair travelers and readers with fond childhood memories of books recounting tales of adventure in the dark wild. . . . What [Grann] found should help change how we think about the Amazon. . . . Read it, shiver with delight and thank your lucky stars you’re never going to get as close to a candirú as Fawcett and Grann did. (Look it up on Wikipedia, if you dare.)” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Thrilling. . . . What a story. . . . The beauty is that as incredible as it is, it’s true.”
“Outstanding. . . . A powerful narrative, stiff lipped and Victorian at the center, trippy at the edges, as if one of those stern men of Conrad had found himself trapped in a novel by García Márquez.”
—Rich Cohen, The New York Times Book Review
“Did Grann find the lost city? . . . It’s worth reading every page of this marvelous book to find out.”
“Grann is no hard-as-nails explorer, and his self-deprecating personal narrative . . . serves as a comic counterpoint to the superhuman exploits of Fawcett. Grann may not be able to hack the wilderness very well, but as a storyteller he’s first-rate.” —Outside
“Grann has an extraordinary sense of pacing, and his scenes of forest adventure are dispatched in passages of swift, arresting simplicity. . . . A splendid, suspenseful book.”
“With this 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
“A thrilling yarn. . . . What [Grann] finds is what makes The Lost City of Z so gratifying, and in the end he, and we along with him, find ourselves stunned by what Percy Fawcett discovered.”
“Grann paints a vivid picture of the final days of trail-blazing, Earth-bound grand exploration, before airplanes and radios began stripping the mystery from the unknown parts of the world.”
—The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)
“Meticulously researched and spellbinding. . . . Reads like a cross between an Indiana Jones adventure and a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. . . . Gripping.”
—The Ottawa Citizen
“Irresistible. . . . At once a biography of Fawcett, a history of the era of exploration, a science book on the nature and ethnography of the Amazon and a thrilling armchair adventure. . . . [It] has everything to fire the imagination: Romance, nostalgia, bravery, monomania, hardship, adventure, science, tragedy, mystery.”
—South Florida Sun Sentinel
“The Lost City of Z is meticulously researched, riveting and horrifying, guided by a core mystery that seems unimaginable and an author driven into the depths of the jungle by his daring to imagine it.”
—Philadelphia City Paper
“Absorbing. . . . A wonderful story of a lost age of heroic exploration.”
—The Sunday Times (London)
“Tantalizing. . . . Grann gives us a glimpse of the vanished age of exploration [as well as] a suspenseful, often very funny account of his own trek as a complete amateur into the ‘green hell’ of the Amazon. . . . Immensely entertaining.”
—The Gazette (Montreal)
“Thankfully, for those of us who secretly live and breath for the swashbuckling adventure tale, every now and then a book comes along that renews our faith in the epic quest narrative, its ability to inform and enlighten even as it feeds our most primal need for dramatic amusement. [The Lost City of Z] succeeds tremendously in these pursuits.”
—The Globe and Mail (Canada)
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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Some people criticize the book for only getting to the final expedition at the very end of the book. But I believe this criticism is unwarranted. You can't just jump into the final expedition without getting the backstory and context of the people, place, and time. I feel the author did a marvelous job of jumping around and pacing the book, so that when you get to the final expedition, you're well versed in the context and prepared to understand why things went down the way they did.
Fantastic read, and I shall keep this book as a permanent fixture in my collection. Too bad I only got it in paperback... dang.
Fawcett and his crew of explorers faced great dangers. In those days the Amazon jungle or rain forest was home to many insects such as mosquitos that carried horrible diseases, such as dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, and maggots that invaded their bodies. There were no preventatives, no antibiotics. Fawcett rarely got sick, but his men did and many died. It didn't help that he drove his men to hike through the thick jungle and mud for unreasonable long hours with little or no food even when they were extremely ill
In addition, they had were exploring in uncharted rain forests and rivers without the aide of a GPS or a cellphone or satellite phone. There were no computers or Internet. Furthermore there were tribes who liked to kill outsiders.
During these years, Fawcett heard tales of a lost city in the interior of the Amazon basin that many called El Dorado. Fawcett called it Z. He became obsessed with finding this lost city. On his final exploration, he took his son and his son's friend and they looked for the lost city. Much of what happened during Fawcett's trips was documented in journals kept by him and those who were with him. Furthermore they sent letters home occasionally.
David Grann who was writing for The New Yorker, decided to go to the Amazon in the 1990s to learn what happened to Fawcett 70 years previously and to see if the lost city even existed. Grann spent much time doing research and got access to letters and other documents that others never had seen. Despite medical and technological advances and the destruction of much of the rain forest, Grann had some harrowing times and became about as obsessed with his mission as Fawcett had. I actually became more engrossed in Grann's story.
It was interesting to see how even more rain forest had disappeared when we went on the Amazon and Ucayali rivers this summer. I highly recommend this book for those planning a trip to the Amazon basin and for those interested in the history of the area.
Fawcett’s motivations could have been banal if they were glory or becoming famous but he showed an ethical position not usual in his time which was to approach the indigenous people in a non violent way, trying not to use arms and ordering to drop arms even if danger was felt. He would raise his hands and confront the Indians which gave him good results since he got to be treated as a sort of friend. This respectful behavior, considering the times, was something positive to take in account when trying to define Fawcett's personality which could show his humanity, something to learn from him. Now, consider that Indiana Jones is partly based in the real life of Percy Fawcett and P.F. is one of the characters of one of his movies; however, Indiana Jones had no problem in shooting for entertainment.
Having lived in Bolivia and having done some exploration myself I may have a different take to this adventure. To start, one of Fawcett's motivation was as normal as to answer why people climb mountains, the answer is,” because it's there". I have done hiking going from La Paz at 12000 ft. above sea level to about 15000 ft. and then down to the tropics of Yungas which is the start of the Amazonian jungle all along an Inca road which was partly well preserved considering hundreds of years of use. After getting familiar with this subtropical region, it happened that I read The mines of King Salomon and this book, cited in Grann's book as well, inspired me to go farther. My plan was to go to an uncharted area in the forest called Madidi, which is a national park now. My motivation was just to see what no one else has seen. I was able to enlist two university friends who seemed interested but who back down at the last minute. Next year I tried again but I had a sudden back ache problem. Going back to the book, Fawcett's intentions may have been to attain fame by finding not El Dorado but something like Machu Pichu which was “found” in 1911. He visited Cusco and Tiahuanacu and was able to marvel at the achievements of these civilizations. But destiny put him in the Bolivian jungle with the aid of the British government, it wasn't something that he was looking for but that opened his eyes and his innate explorer spirit.
Before I even finished reading this book I was compelled to read about the original source, Percy Fawcett's own words, compiled in a book “Lost trail, lost cities” by Brian Fawcett, his son. By reading it, I found out that in his first trip he was hired by the Bolivian government, P. Fawcett does not mention Brazil in the first expedition which was actually work. Now, there are historical details that are not clear. The border problem between Bolivia and Brazil was already established in 1903 after a short war between these two countries and the result was the annexation of the Acre, an area of 190,000 square Kilometers (75,000 sq mls), more than ¾ the size of UK. By the way, something that this book could have in next edition is a better map, the map of Bolivia is not clear.
There are details in the Fawcett's book that could have been part of Grann's book or even the movie, like the moment when, after departing La Paz, one of many mules P.F. had, runs away and that was the mule that had the $£1000 in gold he received as part of the payment from the Bolivian government, an interesting historical detail, a “jingling treasure” in the saddle bags. However, Fawcett explains that the mule was brought back by local people who he rewarded. P .F. describes foreigners by name but there is no mention of Bolivian dignitaries with the exception of the president of Bolivia who was taking matters with his own hands and who knew these lands very well. The region next to the Brazilian border bears his name, Pando.
“All who have lived in these lands and learned to know them fell captive to their irresistible charm”, Fawcett writes as part of his reflexions. Is this one of the motives he kept coming back?