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From the Publisher
A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Denver Post Bestseller
In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
…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…it 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.
The New York Times Book Review - Rich Cohen
…outstanding…The book is screwball…a hybrid in which the weak, fear-wracked reporter from the present age confronts the crazed iron men of yore, citizens of a country as grand and gone as the kingdom of the Incas. The result is 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 Garcia Marquez.
The Washington Post - Marie Arana
The Lost City of Z…recounts Fawcett's expeditions with all the pace of a white-knuckle adventure story. The book is a model of suspense and concision…Although Fawcett's story cuts through 100 years of complicated history, Grann follows its twists and turns admirably. Thoroughly researched, vividly told, this is a thrill ride from start to finish.
Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Best Books of 2009: The Reviews
In 1925, renowned British explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett embarked on a much publicized search to find the city of Z, site of an ancient Amazonian civilization that may or may not have existed. Fawcett, along with his grown son Jack, never returned, but that didn't stop countless others, including actors, college professors and well-funded explorers from venturing into the jungle to find Fawcett or the city. Among the wannabe explorers is Grann, a staff writer for the New Yorker, who has bad eyes and a worse sense of direction. He became interested in Fawcett while researching another story, eventually venturing into the Amazon to satisfy his all-consuming curiosity about the explorer and his fatal mission. Largely about Fawcett, the book examines the stranglehold of passion as Grann's vigorous research mirrors Fawcett's obsession with uncovering the mysteries of the jungle. By interweaving the great story of Fawcett with his own investigative escapades in South America and Britain, Grann provides an in-depth, captivating character study that has the relentless energy of a classic adventure tale. (Feb.)
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Lee Arnold - Library Journal
Grann, a staff writer at The New Yorker, gives a gripping, detailed account of the fate of English explorer Percy Fawcett. Fawcett disappeared into the jungles of Brazil in 1925 with his son and his son's best friend. It was not the first time that Fawcett had plunged into Amazonia or confronted pestilence and natives not keen on receiving trespassers. Colonel Fawcett was a soldier, sometime spy, and expert surveyor and explorer who helped define the border between Bolivia and Brazil. But he was primarily obsessed with finding a rumored great city in the jungles of South America, which he simply called Z partly because it did not have a name and partly to throw off others who were looking for it. Grann's experience following this mystery to England and Brazil was an adventure in its own right. He alternates chapters on Fawcett's adventures, based on his diaries and contemporary accounts, with his own and others' efforts to find Fawcett or at least the truth about his demise. Like the books of Simon Winchester (e.g., The Man Who Loved China), this is a compelling and entertaining read. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.
A stirring tale of lost civilizations, avarice, madness and everything else that makes exploration so much fun. As New Yorker staff writer and debut author Grann notes, the British explorer Percy Fawcett's exploits in jungles and atop mountains inspired novels such as Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, and his character is the tutelary spirit of the Indiana Jones franchise. Fawcett in turn was nurtured by his associations with fabulists such as Doyle and H. Rider Haggard, whose talisman he bore into the Amazonian rainforest. Working from a buried treasure in the form of long-lost diaries, Grann reconstructs the 1925 voyage Fawcett undertook with his 21-year-old son to find the supposed Lost City of Z, which, by all accounts, may have been El Dorado, the fabled place of untold amounts of Inca gold. Many a conquistador had died looking for the place, though in their wake, "after a toll of death and suffering worthy of Joseph Conrad, most archaeologists had concluded that El Dorado was no more than a delusion." Fawcett was not among them, nor was his rival, a rich American doctor named Alexander Hamilton Rice, who was hot on the trail. Fawcett determined that a small expedition would be more likely to survive than a large one. Perhaps so, but the expedition notes record a hell of humid swamps and "flesh and carrion-eating bees [and] gnats in clouds . . . rendering one's food unpalatable by filling it with their filthy bodies, their bellies red and disgustingly distended with one's own blood." It would get worse, we imagine, before Fawcett and his party disappeared, never to be seen again. Though, as Grann writes, they were ironically close to the object of their quest. A colorful tale oftrue adventure, marked by satisfyingly unexpected twists, turns and plenty of dark portents. First printing of 125,000
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.
"David Grann's "The""Lost City of Z" is a deeply satisfying revelation--a look into the life and times of one of the last great territorial explorers, P. H. Fawcett, and his search for a lost city in the Amazon. I mean, 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."--Erik Larson, author of "Thunderstruck," "Devil in the White Cit, y" and "Isaac's Storm"
"Few things are better than experiencing a horrendous adventure from the comfort of your own armchair. Hordes of mosquitoes, poison-arrow attacks, bizarre and fatal diseases, spies in starched collars, hidden outposts of Atlantis -- what's not to like? "The Lost City of Z "is like a wonderful nineteenth-century tale of exotic danger -- except that David Grann's book is also a sensitively written biographical detective story, a vest-pocket history of exploration, and a guide to the new archaeological researc
Format: Audio CD
Published: February 2009
Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 3.18 x 13.34 x 15.88
Weight (kg): 0.25