The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Paperback – Jan 26 2010
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“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. A collection of his stories, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, will be published in spring 2010.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book begins with Fawcett's early days as an explorer up to his infamous journey in which he took his 22-year old son with him and simply vanished from the face of the earth. Many others have gone in since to find him and either disappeared themselves or returned defeated and emaciated.
Between chapters of Fawcett's story, the author occasionally jumps to his own tale of following in the footsteps of Fawcett's ill-fated last journey using modern technology.
A very compelling read. Fawcett is truly a larger than life character and his story makes for good reading. I really enjoyed the time period, 1900s-1920s, and am fascinated with exploration of that period. A well written biography with plenty of original source quotations including from Fawcett's own journals. I only wish the book had included some photographs. I like to see who I'm reading about but all in all a very interesting and compelling biography and description of the days of exploration.
Edited to Add: While my arc edition has no photographs, the finished book *will* have photos and maps. That's great news!
Who hasn't watched the movies where an explorer or adventurer discovers a lost world or civilization? I personally am fascinated by the whole idea that there may still be some untouched or unfound something out there.
The Lost City of Z isn't fiction - it's an incredible true story. In 1925 famed explorer Percy Fawcett set out to find the fabled city of El Dorado or as he referred to it - The Lost City of Z. Dispatches were sent back documenting his journey for the first two years, but then he and his expedition vanished - no trace of them ever to be heard of again. Many others followed, looking for Fawcett or his golden city. None have ever found it.
David Grann, a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, became enthralled with Fawcett's story as well. Grann discovers some of Fawcett's old journals that give him additional information on Fawcett's planned expedition. He decides to head to the Amazon himself and trace the explorer's route.
What follows is an absolutely riveting tale. The history of Fawcett and other adventurers bent on mapping and mastering the Amazon is utterly fascinating. The book alternates between Fawcett's time, drawing on newspapers, journals and letters to present a real picture of his time and Grann's own growing obsession and pilgrimage. I had to keep reminding myself that this was real - documented history. I honestly couldn't put it down. Does he discover what happened to Fawcett and his lost party - well I'll leave that for you to explore.
Brad Pitt is rumoured to be starring in a film version of The Lost City of Z coming out in 2010.
When I finished and was able to put the book down, my wife immediately grabbed it and promptly got lost in the Amazon jungle. I imagine she is enjoying the read, although I do occasionally see her checking to make certain she's not covered in ants, and that no snakes are lying wait in the hallway.
Of course I didn't expect not to like it. I mean the concept is awesome. A real life search for the lost city of El Dorado. And the search was being done with the historical notes of legendary explorer Percy Fawcett.
The story, for those who don't know (and I certainly fell in to this camp before starting to read this book) is that in 1925 Percy Fawcett and two other explorers went in to the jungle of Brazil to look for the fabled city of El Dorado. They went in, and never came back out. For years, rumours have swirled around the group. Did they find paradise and decide never to leave? Were they killed by one of the many tribes of Indians hostile to the white man? Or did they just end up falling prey to some sort of jungle parasite.
Author David Grann does a great job of piecing together the route that Fawcett is alleged to have taken as Grann goes off in search of history.
The book is part detective novel, part history lesson, and all adventure. The spine of the book states "A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon". And I don't dispute that. This is a good book. Give it a read. You won't be disappointed.
Most recent customer reviews
A bi-level tale about an early 1900's explorer and a modern day author who aspires to trace the original explorer's steps. Read morePublished 8 months ago by ellison
I just loved this book and would definitely recommend it. I picked it up after having read Robert Whitaker's The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale Of Love, Murder And Survival In The... Read morePublished 8 months ago by R Helen
This is a riveting read. Fans of early 20th century history and adventure will really enjoy this. Well written, well researched. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Rosanna D'agnillo
A very well researched and written tale of adventure and mystery in the Amazon. I'd recommend this to anyone who feels the pull of the wild and dreams of explorationPublished 22 months ago by Marcus Hart
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 339 pages and 16 photo pages in 2 sections. Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2013 by Canoneer
This was a slightly different read for me, but I still enjoyed the historical aspect of it. The author covers a lot of ground in a very interesting tail.Published on June 19 2013 by Philippe A Noel
Amazon disappears rapidly. One day somebody will probably find bones and things belonging to Percy Fawcett, his son and his companion. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2012 by Regnal the Caretaker
The service was excellent and very quick. The book was brand new condition. I would not hesitate in dealing with this seller or Amazon in general.Published on Dec 1 2011 by DC