- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 6 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: February 24, 2009
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001U2MTK6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Sure, it's a history book -- a subject that some readers would find dry. But Fawcett makes for an incredibly compelling subject, with the constitution of a superhero and a singular, obsessive focus. There were specific passages recounting Fawcett's expeditions that seem almost cinematic in nature; it was no surprise to see that the rights have already been optioned by a major film studio. Grann also manages to include a lot of information from primary sources, and is even able to point out an instance where Fawcett falsified his own notes to keep others off his trail. The notes that Fawcett took on his journeys are vivid: for instance, your skin will be crawling from the battles the explorers fought with various insects.
The book as a whole is a real page-turner. it keeps you as invested as any contemporary adventure work by Krakauer or Junger. The only reason I even considered a four-star review (rather than the five I eventually decided upon) is the book's final chapters aren't quite as rich. Grann narrates himself following Fawcett's footsteps, but a lot of the impact is diminished because of the near-century of technological advances, and because Grann pales as a protagonist compared to Fawcett. That's not meant as an insult, by the way -- Fawcett was basically an action hero. There is an interesting piece of knowledge gained at the end that redeems Grann's journey somewhat. Still, I would have preferred another 25 pages on Fawcett.