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The Lost City of Z (2009)

by David Grann

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8522142,204 (3.9)436
After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, he embarked with his 21-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 clues he left behind--became an obsession for hundreds who followed him. As Grann delved deeper into Fawcett's mystery, and the greater mystery of the Amazon, he found himself irresistibly drawn into the "green hell."--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 90
    The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (VaterOlsen)
  2. 50
    1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (tahoegirl)
  3. 20
    Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure by Julian Smith (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: They take place on different continents, but both are stories of Victorian explorers, with interwoven tales of the modern biographers/journlists who retrace their paths.
  4. 10
    Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk (baobab)
    baobab: Imperialist explorers in a different environment, these men loot the archeological riches of Central Asia and China while pursuing nefarious plots for their home governments.
  5. 10
    The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon by Robert Whitaker (sboyte)
    sboyte: Explorers in the Amazon.
  6. 00
    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Explorers Ernest Shackleton and Percy Fawcett were contemporaries; both met disaster in their risky explorations, one to the Amazon and the other to Antarctica. These well-researched accounts are engaging; both will enthrall readers who enjoy historical adventure stories.… (more)
  7. 00
    Running the Amazon by Joe Kane (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The ancient ruins and lush jungles of South America inspire great adventures, including following in the footsteps of a (failed) 1925 exploration (The Lost City of Z) and a dangerous kayak trip down the entire Amazon River (Running the Amazon).… (more)
  8. 00
    Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (g33kgrrl)
  9. 01
    Esqueleto na Lagoa Verde (Em Portuguese do Brasil) by Antônio Callado (Ronoc)
  10. 01
    CORONEL FAWCETT A VERDADEIRA HISTORIA DO INDIANA JONES by Hermes Leal (Ronoc)
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» See also 436 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
Good storytelling. Wasn't sure where the focus of this book was for the majority of it. Was it on the lost city or was it on Col. Percy Fawcett and his obsession with the Amazon and the city. Love explorer adventure stories and this one delivered. ( )
  Schneider | May 26, 2020 |
One time on a family vacation, my dad, my mom, my brother, and I got lost for about three hours on the Stanley Gap Trail in Blue Ridge, Georgia. We were on a clearly defined trail the entire time, we had a map, and we were never farther than maybe a 20-minute walk from our car, so we weren't in any danger whatsoever, but we had pretty much accepted that we were going to die in the forest.

As I read The Lost City of Z, I ended up thinking about my family far more than I expected. Percy Fawcett, his son Jack, and Jack's friend Raleigh all died in the Amazon searching for a place that they never stood a chance of finding. Fawcett left behind his wife and two other children, who were nice enough to not stomp on his legacy the way it deserved to be stomped on.

I don't really hate Fawcett, but when the guy's style of parenting most resembles that of Ric Flair, you have to admit he really sucks. Like Flair, Fawcett loved his dumb job more than he loved his family. Like Flair, he (maybe actively, maybe not) forced his family into caring about what he cared about in a desperate attempt to connect with him. And like Flair's son Reid, Fawcett's son Jack was killed by trying to live life to the dangerous extreme in the way his father did. The only difference between the patriarchs is that Ric Flair has been able to live long enough to say, "Oops. I've been a trash dad. I'm going to at least pretend that I want to do better." Percy Fawcett never got that chance.

I feel absolutely terrible for Jack. The longest trip I've ever had to take with my dad to connect with him was a 15-minute drive to Steak 'n Shake. Jack had to go into a stupid jungle with potentially hostile native tribes and like 50 different types of bugs that can kill you. Why? Because his dad walks too fast for every other explorer on the planet and knows he's raised a son who is desperate to please him. Actually, I've changed my mind from earlier. I really do hate Percy.

After my family and I managed to get out of the mountains and back to our car, we went to a Mexican restaurant and watched a baseball game. Since that day, we've spent a lot less time in the mountains and a lot more time in Mexican restaurants, and I'm perfectly alright with that.

One quick note for anyone who has read the book: Do you remember Michael Heckenberger, that anthropologist from the end of the book who somehow was the only guy on the planet that knew what he was talking about? Here's his Rate My Professors page. It's pretty funny.
http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=701462 ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
The book is great journalism and good history. The thrills, anxiety and mystery of the Fawcett expeditions comes through loud and clear in Grann's work. Alternating between Grann's own quest for Fawcett and Fawcett's travels to the Amazon that ultimately resulted in his disappearance, The Lost City of Z has a literary sense to it. Both stories build to a climax that leaves you wanting more. And probably rekindles in contemporary life the same wonder and obsessions about Fawcett that gripped the world in the 1920s ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
I must confess, I have a romantic attachment to the idea of exploration. The adventurer in me can't help but think about how wonderful it would be to live in a time where you could set out to explore unknown worlds. I sometimes find myself looking at a beautiful spot whether it be a waterfall, a mountain range or a river and imagining what it would have been like to stumble across this piece of God's mastery and know that no human had seen it before. That's what drew me to this book. It's about the British explorer Percy Fawcett that made numerous treks to the Amazon searching for what he called the Lost City of Z. His final party consisted of three people, Fawcett, his son and his son's friend. They disappeared in the jungle. David Grann sets out to trace Fawcett's journeys and to try to solve the mystery of Fawcett's disappearance.

I started reading this book months ago. I set it down 50 pages in and didn't pick it back up until today. I don't know why. I just wasn't in the mood to read it and, finally, today I was. I'm glad I did. It's a riveting story. It vividly brings to life the period of the explorers and their struggles and determination to find something that nobody has found before and write their name in the history books. I also envied David Grann just a little bit because he got to follow in Fawcett's footsteps and "explore" the Amazon himself. ( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
4.5

Oh my my, Oh hell yes, you've got to read this exploration mess. If you didn't just sing that in your head, what is wrong with you? Okay but seriously let's talk lost cities. You've probably heard of Atlantis, I feel like we've all heard of that- so overrated right? Why haven't we all heard of the lost city of Z? Now that I have I practically feel like an explorer myself. This is a fascinating tale of a journalist who decides to search for what really happened to Percy Fawcett. Percy Fawcett was an Amazonian explorer in the early 1900s who tracked much of the Amazon and mapped it. He also because obsessed with finding what he called "The lost city of Z". He took his son Jack, and his son's best friend with him on his last outing and the three were never heard from again. Over the years many explorers have tried to find their fate along with the Lost City of Z. This chronicles Fawcett's life and explorations as well as discusses several of the follow up explorations looking for them. So... does anyone find what happened to Fawcett? More importantly does anyone find the Lost City of Z? This will answer those questions along with how amazingly sucky it is to be in the Amazon. Yes, I said it- Sucky. I can tell you that if I had been there on one of these trips I would never have gone back. Too many diseases and if you don't die from one of those, there are plenty of animals or natives who are ready and willing to kill you. If that doesn't do the trick you can always just die from starvation or get lost. The Amazon is definitely designed not to be a friendly place. ( )
1 vote bookswithmom | Dec 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Grannprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cain, DavidCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carella, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carina, ClaudioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dedekind, HenningÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Retina78Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silva, José Freitas eTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wald, BethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue of two passersby meeting in the crowd, and I think that, setting out from there, I will put together, piece by piece, the perfect city . . . If I tell you that the city toward which my journey tends is discontinuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed,
you must not believe the search for it can stop. - Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
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On a cold January day in 1925, a tall, distiguished gentleman hurried across the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey, toward the SS Vauban, a five-hundred-and-eleven-foot ocean liner bound for Rio de Janeiro.
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Contents:

We shall return -- The vanishing -- The search begins -- Buried treasure -- Blank spots on the map -- The disciple -- Freeze-dried ice cream and adrenaline socks -- Into the Amazon -- The secret papers -- The green hell -- Dead Horse Camp -- In the hands of the gods -- Ransom -- The case for Z -- El Dorado -- The locked box -- The whole world is mad -- A scientific obsession -- An unexpected clue -- Have no fear -- The last eyewitness -- Dead or alive -- The colonel's bones -- The other world -- Z.
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