The Lost City Of Z: A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazon

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The Lost City Of Z: A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazon

by David Grann

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | February 24, 2009 | Hardcover

The Lost City Of Z: A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazon is rated 4.2857 out of 5 by 7.
A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization—which he dubbed “Z”—existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.

Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 9.6 × 6.4 × 1.2 in

Published: February 24, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385513534

ISBN - 13: 9780385513531

Found in: History

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Camping trip anyone? Grann once again brings us an unusual tale of a famed explorer, Percy Fawcett, who lost his life, along with his son and another young man, trying to find a hidden city within the Amazon delta. Fawcett had braved the rainforest numerous times to explore unknown areas and he always emerged unscathed (although you might not say that about his companions who often did not survive). With his knowledge, luck and perserverance, he elected to try once more to find the mythical city that was reputed to predate European conquistadores. Grann carefully lays out the history of Amazonian exploration, both by Fawcett and others, and includes many examples of the terrifying wildlife and hostile natives that might be encountered. The book is very interesting and you will have no problem getting through the material, even if non-fiction isn't normally your preference. Grann also did some private exploring of his own, examining the route taken by Fawcett decades ago. You will find out the likely fate of Fawcett but I won't spoil it for you. Read this book and find out...
Date published: 2012-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page turner supreme Magnetic story of Percy Fawcett's treks through 1920's Amazon jungle with little or no help, juxtaposed with the author's own obsession with learning more about Fawcett's life & mysterious fate.
Date published: 2009-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fantastic True-Life Adventure Story I picked up The Lost City of Z just before heading out to Peru where I would be spending a week at the Tambopata Research Center in the Amazon. What better reading material to bring to get my imagination flowing while sitting in the same atmosphere (not quite) as Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett. The book relates the story of famed explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett and his numerous trips into the jungle to find the city of gold, El Dorado. The book does an amazing job of explaining what a difficult task it was at the time to go into the Amazon. No matter how many supplies you brought with you or how many men. More often than not, most would not come back. The story revolves around Fawcett's life both before and during his explorations, as well as the author's attempt to find out what happened to Fawcett and quite possibly the Lost City of Z. Does he find the city? Does he find out what happened to Fawcett? You'll have to read the book to find out. I quite enjoyed the author's perspective on his own trip into the Amazon and wished there was more but as the book stands now it is quite an excellent read. I found putting the book down in the second half difficult. I'd recommend the Lost City of Z to anyone who loves a good adventure and who loves travelling to the unknown.
Date published: 2009-09-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Informative but disappointing The information given and the storytelling are great- however, I was disappointed with the end of the book. I felt like I had more questions than answers at the end of the book- very unsatisfying. Still, a very entertaining read. Could be a bit dry for those who are not avid history/non-fiction readers.
Date published: 2009-04-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reads like fiction , but it's all true... Subtitled: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon -- 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.
Date published: 2009-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating! This is a biography of early twentieth century explorer, Percy Fawcett. Fawcett was an accomplished explorer of the Amazon jungles and recipient of the Royal Geographical Association's Gold Medal. He is most known for his determination in finding a lost city and civilization hidden in the depths of the jungle, often called El Dorado, Fawcett labeled his unfound city "Z". 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!
Date published: 2009-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Lost City of Z : A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Gramm “He was the last of the great Victorian explorers who ventured into uncharted realms with little more than a machete, a compass and an almost divine sense of purpose.” This sentence sums it all up in a nutshell. I congratulate the author on the tremendous amount of research he put into this and for actually risking his own life in his quest for the truth of the disappearance of the above explorer, Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett. Also to be appreciative of is David’s wife with their 1 year old son who, no matter her personal feelings also made his trip of discovery possible, even after Fawcett had been missing for 30 years and all searches to date had ended in failure or disappearance all together. Non-fiction, this is truly an amazing book! Fantastic debut! This is definitely not a romanticized version of exploration; it is instead the torturous journeys Fawcett made, mostly on foot, through the uncharted Amazon. Although the narrative is predominantly that of David Grann, it is based on all the letters, notes, drawing, mappings, every shred of written or noted information Fawcett sent or brought back to his wife with each new expedition. She kept every single piece of it and so did the Royal Geographical Society to which he belonged. There is a great deal of history, especially in early medical treatments in the jungle, as well as how to avoid starvation. Learning as much as was known about the tribes was essential also, but at this time, there was so little known about them that they were all presumed to be hostile. It was a new century, about all that was mapped on South America was Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. There were gaping holes of nothing in between and they could not agree on their borders. Fawcett was ostensibly to be sent out as an impartial observer from the RGS to map the borders. This encompassed several hundred miles of nearly impassable terrain, a two year expedition with no guarantee any members would survive, but in Fawcett’s words “Destiny intended me to go...” They left July 4, 1906 from La Paz, Bolivia. He always insisted in small expedition parties, feeling they posed less threat to the indians. Many large well-equipped parties had been slaughtered or died of disease or starvation in the past. There are wonderful descriptions of the land, the flora and fauna because the explorers were to observe everything and note it. What really took hold of Fawcett though, was his utter belief in a lost city which he code-named as “Z”. He had made studies of all papers and notes by earlier expeditions. He had an obsessive need to locate the city which would have had a huge flourishing population at one time. No one would believe him except a few eccentrics who had stars in their eyes thinking of riches or perhaps the lost El Dorado. But every bit of his research led him closer and closer to where he believed this great city would be found. Many other wealthier explorers also were looking for the city and he was becoming paranoid someone would get there first, but always said they were on the wrong track. He meticulously studied his and others’ maps and drawings of topography, became friendly with many of the natives and learned from them as well. But, after several unsuccessful trips, he made his final trip in 1925 with his son and son’s friend as part of the party. Every expedition he led he felt closer to Z. Then they suddenly disappeared never to be heard of again. There were dispatches up to a certain area and then nothing. There were rescue missions launched but no sign could be found. Rumors abounded over the next several years. A reporter, our author David Grann, in 2005/6 made his case to get fund-raising to record indigenous people, cultures, and integration, with the search for what had happened firmly set in the back of his mind. And with this, the story begins to be told. I would recommend this to anyone: historians, anthropologists, fans of mysteries, non-fiction and fiction readers. What an adventure story! What a wild ride! I was completely absorbed in the book.
Date published: 2008-12-15

– More About This Product –

The Lost City Of Z: A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazon

by David Grann

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 9.6 × 6.4 × 1.2 in

Published: February 24, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385513534

ISBN - 13: 9780385513531

About the Book

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed "New Yorker" writer Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century: what happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

Read from the Book

1 WE SHALL RETURN On a cold January day in 1925, a tall, distinguished gentleman hurried across the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey, toward the S.S. Vauban, a five-hundred-and-eleven-foot ocean liner bound for Rio de Janeiro. He was fifty-seven years old, and stood over six feet, his long arms corded with muscles. Although his hair was thinning and his mustache was flecked with white, he was so fit that he could walk for days with little, if any, rest or nourishment. His nose was crooked like a boxer''s, and there was something ferocious about his appearance, especially his eyes. They were set close together and peered out from under thick tufts of hair. No one, not even his family, seemed to agree on their color-some thought they were blue, others gray. Yet virtually everyone who encountered him was struck by their intensity: some called them "the eyes of a visionary." He had frequently been photographed in riding boots and wearing a Stetson, with a rifle slung over his shoulder, but even in a suit and a tie, and without his customary wild beard, he could be recognized by the crowds on the pier. He was Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, and his name was known throughout the world. He was the last of the great Victorian explorers who ventured into uncharted realms with little more than a machete, a compass, and an almost divine sense of purpose. For nearly two decades, stories of his adventures had captivated the public''s imagination: how he had survived in the South Ame
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From the Publisher

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization—which he dubbed “Z”—existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.

Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.

From the Jacket

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization—which he dubbed “Z”—existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.

Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.

About the Author

David Grann has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003. 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 anthologies, and he has written for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic, where he is also a contributing editor.

Editorial Reviews

“At once a biography, a detective story and wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing….suspenseful….rollicking….Fascinating….reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage, and it seems almost surely destined for a secure perch on the best-seller lists.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “David Grann, recounts Fawcett''s expeditions with all the pace of a white-knuckle adventure story…..What a grand tale it is!....Grann follows its twists and turns admirably. Thoroughly researched, vividly told, this is a thrill ride from start to finish.” -- The Washington Post “[O]utstanding….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 “[V]ividly alive….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 Wincester, The Wall Street Journal “A fascinating account….Grann expertly juggles narratives….breathtaking clarity of scene and immediacy; any writer who can breathe life into letters writte
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