Sunday, May 24, 2009
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obession in the Amazon by David Grann
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into 'blank spots' on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and unwavering sense of purpose. In 1925, one of the few remaining blank spots in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the impenetrable jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization like El Dorado, which he christened the 'City of Z'. When he and his son set out to find it, hoping to make one of the most important archeological discoveries in history, they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. For the next eighty years, hordes of explorers -- shocked that a man many deemed invincible could disappear in a land he knew better than anyone, and drawn by the centuries-old myth of El Dorado -- searched for the expedition and the city. Many died from starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and poisonous arrows. Others simply vanished.
In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and his followers, in a bracing attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries. It is an irresistibly readable adventure story, a subtle examination of the strange and often violent encounters between Europeans and Amazonian tribes and a tale of lethal obsession.
The Lost City of Z is a fascinating look at the adventurer Percy Fawcett and his obsession with the Amazon. He disappeared along with his son Jack on his last venture into the Amazon. The book is written by reporter David Grann. It is well researched and reads more like a story than nonfiction. It is written using flashbacks to Percy Fawcett's time in between chapters in the present where David Grann is tracking down information and planning his own journey to follow Percy's trail. It worked and I was never lost reading. My only wish is that more time would have been spent on David Grann's part of the journey which is what I expected reading the blurbs of the book. I am not sorry I read it because overall it is a interesting well written book. :)
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.