Customer Reviews for

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

Average Rating 4
( 585 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(197)

4 Star

(237)

3 Star

(99)

2 Star

(35)

1 Star

(17)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

TRUTH CAN BE STRANGER THAN FICTION

This book revives a once popular figure that time had reduced to obscurity - Percy Harrison Fawcett. It describes his early explorations in parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru - usually just referred to as "the Amazon". It describes what is known of Fawcett's last explo...
This book revives a once popular figure that time had reduced to obscurity - Percy Harrison Fawcett. It describes his early explorations in parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru - usually just referred to as "the Amazon". It describes what is known of Fawcett's last exploration to find El Dorado as well as expeditions by others to find El Dorado or to discover the fate of Fawcett, his son Jack, and his son's friend Raleigh.

Part of the attraction of the book is the presentation of the unique character of Fawcett. He proves that truth can be stranger than fiction. Fawcett was tougher than the fictitious Indiana Jones although Fawcett maintained the way to survive attacks by the most hostile natives was to refuse to fight them. He and his handful of companions in all but his final journey survived almost unbelievable odds and hardships through his mental and physical strength. It was obvious that Fawcett could be admired from a distance, but was probably justifiably seen as insensitive, obsessed and ruthless by his traveling companions. Part of the attraction of the book is the reconstruction of the era of the amateur, gentleman explorer, the public's fascination with them, and the Royal Geographical Society and similar organizations that funded them.

The book also dispelled some of the romantic notions about expeditions to the Amazon. I might be willing to subject myself to the stereotyped hardships - heat, thirst, hunger, snakes, crocodiles, violent natives and even piranhas. However, after reading about the hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, gnats, bees, ants and termites intent on leaving victims gory and blind, gruesome flies that plant maggots beneath the skin, and horrific vampire bats that swoop down in packs to rip flesh open, I was left amazed that anyone that had somehow survived such horror once would be willing to face it again.

The reader is somewhat discouraged throughout the book as the ending appears to be apparent. The obvious assumption is that Fawcett's luck finally ran out and he and his party were violently killed by hostile natives. Also El Dorado obviously was never found or the discovery would have been heralded. The author's determination to discover the actual route of the Fawcett party leads to a surprise ending that justifies Fawcett's obsession and his revival from obscurity.

posted by LN_Adcox on March 21, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Meh

I love treasure hunts and exploring. But i also have a weakness for animals. I understand the need to learn about new species but i couldnt handle reading about horses being forced to stay in the river with swords so the men could see how long theyd survive with electri...
I love treasure hunts and exploring. But i also have a weakness for animals. I understand the need to learn about new species but i couldnt handle reading about horses being forced to stay in the river with swords so the men could see how long theyd survive with electric eels. I got a little under half way through before quitting. It bothers me to leave a book unfinished but i cant read about the experiments.

posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 586 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 30
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    TRUTH CAN BE STRANGER THAN FICTION

    This book revives a once popular figure that time had reduced to obscurity - Percy Harrison Fawcett. It describes his early explorations in parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru - usually just referred to as "the Amazon". It describes what is known of Fawcett's last exploration to find El Dorado as well as expeditions by others to find El Dorado or to discover the fate of Fawcett, his son Jack, and his son's friend Raleigh.

    Part of the attraction of the book is the presentation of the unique character of Fawcett. He proves that truth can be stranger than fiction. Fawcett was tougher than the fictitious Indiana Jones although Fawcett maintained the way to survive attacks by the most hostile natives was to refuse to fight them. He and his handful of companions in all but his final journey survived almost unbelievable odds and hardships through his mental and physical strength. It was obvious that Fawcett could be admired from a distance, but was probably justifiably seen as insensitive, obsessed and ruthless by his traveling companions. Part of the attraction of the book is the reconstruction of the era of the amateur, gentleman explorer, the public's fascination with them, and the Royal Geographical Society and similar organizations that funded them.

    The book also dispelled some of the romantic notions about expeditions to the Amazon. I might be willing to subject myself to the stereotyped hardships - heat, thirst, hunger, snakes, crocodiles, violent natives and even piranhas. However, after reading about the hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, gnats, bees, ants and termites intent on leaving victims gory and blind, gruesome flies that plant maggots beneath the skin, and horrific vampire bats that swoop down in packs to rip flesh open, I was left amazed that anyone that had somehow survived such horror once would be willing to face it again.

    The reader is somewhat discouraged throughout the book as the ending appears to be apparent. The obvious assumption is that Fawcett's luck finally ran out and he and his party were violently killed by hostile natives. Also El Dorado obviously was never found or the discovery would have been heralded. The author's determination to discover the actual route of the Fawcett party leads to a surprise ending that justifies Fawcett's obsession and his revival from obscurity.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2009

    A Tropical Journey of Many Answers

    I am just a quarter through this excellent nonfiction, and I find that it easily explains through its wonderful writings the difference between the more honorable geographical explorers such as Fawcett (who was backed by the British Royal Georgraphic Society) compared to the Conquistadors such as Aguirre backed by Euroimperials. With Fawcett, the concept of "Z" (El Dorado) being a more anthrolopological expedition (rather than just metallic gold) to prove without doubt that human intelligence can exist and flourish within the deepest jungle (as opposed to the suggestion that primitivism as a result of some sort of human breakdown by the jungle can only exist). (The anthropological cultural significance can be compared to the current Coe's writings in their "The True History of Chocolate" where they found evidence that during the imperial time period, that the indigenous South Americans were as the Coe's wrote "light years" ahead of Europeans in the areas of medicine/botanics due to Europeans hanging on to ancient Greek medicinal codes). Fawcett's quest for "Z" a "City of Gold" was a search to prove that there is a highly advanced civilization in the deepest jungles. Of course, to find such a civilization or even a real city of gold, would be a treacherous undertaking as in mythological comparisions, or by the realities of learning to survive in a foreign place, a dense jungle, and with deadly obstacles brought in from the outside, or rather nearer to his own home country and other parts of Europe. The book suggests that during Fawcett's times, intelligence was seen as a culture that could create planes and trains, something beyond the normal scope of every day life. However, it is noted that some during that time period also believed an advanced culture such as "Z" could not be seen by those much less intelligent. (This is probably why they expected Fawcett could find it as he was supposed to be quite smart with some sort of patented technology he created to increase pace for the shipping industry). Fawcett propbably thought he would find "Z" since he took his son on the expedition. "The Lost City of Z" also gives quite a background of Fawcett and his culture as well as what was going on in the areas of his explorations such as the notorious rubber industry in South America. I had for the first time I can remember a dream that was influenced by a book. I actually had a dream regarding "The Lost City of Z" that caused me to further understand the explorers view and obsession with finding an advanced civilization, and that it probably may exist, though I would not try to find it. It is a book that really helps one understand a lot of issues including cultural issues, and the search for something enlightening. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

    Other interesting readings related to this:
    "Tears of the Tree: The Story of Rubber: A Modern Marvel" by John Loadman (Oxford University Press, 2005)

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Meh

    I love treasure hunts and exploring. But i also have a weakness for animals. I understand the need to learn about new species but i couldnt handle reading about horses being forced to stay in the river with swords so the men could see how long theyd survive with electric eels. I got a little under half way through before quitting. It bothers me to leave a book unfinished but i cant read about the experiments.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lost City.

    This book chronicles the quest of Percy Harrison Fawcett to find the lost city of El Dorado which he nicknamed the city of Z. Fawcett had been told of a legendary city so "enormously rich in gold-so much so as to blaze like a fire". This began his life long obsession to find this mythical place. He embarked on his first South American expedition when he was commissioned by the Royal Geographic Society to map the border between Bolivia and Brazil. It was an arduous trip but he surprised everyone by completing the task in half the estimated time. He later embarked on a mission to find the source of the Rio Verde. It was a hellish trip where he and his crew were ravaged by insects, a brutal trek through the forest and biting hunger. At a certain point in the journey, they were forced to do away with all but the basic necessities. They even abandoned any food that they could not immediately carry believing that they would be able to live off the land, it was after all the forest and they assumed that it would be teeming with animals they could hunt and eat. But they discover to their dismay that this forest was inhospitable. The trees drained all the nutrients out of the soil leaving the jungle floor in almost total darkness. Animals avoided the jungle floor and Fawcett and his team found themselves hungry most of the time. But upon returning home from this ordeal he was soon restless again. He said " It was the voice of the wild places and I knew that it was now a part of me forever. Inexplicably, amazing, I knew I loved that hell. Its fiendish grasp had captured me and I wanted to see it again".

    Of all the expeditions that Fawcett would embark on, the search for Z would be his most important. He researched and gathered information that he believed supported his theory of Z and after he secured some funding he again set off for the Amazon. He took with him his son Jack and Jack's best friend Raleigh Rimmel. They received a rousing sendoff from the world's media and were treated like celebrities everywhere they went. But once they reached the Amazon and had sent out a few communiques, they were never heard from again.

    After the disappearance of the Fawcett party, many initiatives were launched to find them or news of them. Some who survived came back with tales of Fawcett's death by Indians, some said he had been kidnapped by Indians. Some even claimed that there was evidence that Fawcett had indeed found Z. There was even a purported sighting of a child believed to be Jack Fawcett's son. Someone even claimed to have found Fawcett's bones which later turned out to be the bones of a long dead Indian. This story is fascinating in all its essentials. Its heartbreakingly sad how this man was so consumed by the idea of this city that he followed it to his and his family's destruction. Regardless of how he met his end, we can tell that it was most likely not a happy one. He left behind a wife who died in extreme poverty, a son who continued to seek his father's approval by trying to continue his father's work and a daughter who never got to know her father. It is impossible not to admire many aspects of Fawcett's personality. He was a very hard worker, he was undeterred by the constant rejection that he faced in his search to achieve this goal and he serves as a model for never giving up. But in this case, never giving up proves to be his greatest undoing as passion became obsession very quickly. Amazing read that enlig

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Adventure you can without leaving your house

    This is a great read. Grann has written the type of nonfiction book that I like the most--he has all these little side stories and interesting tidbits of history that are extra information but still fit the main subject of the story. I enjoyed all of it--the history of Percy Fawcett (who sounds like a hell of a guy), the investigation by the author, the detailed accounts of all the nasty bugs and animals there (the flesh-eating maggots had to be the worst). This is a great adventure/mystery book. I enjoyed the information about the archaelogical finds in the Amazon and Grann even touched on the deforestation of the Amazon without sounding preachy or crazy. This is a good book, lots of details, and I had a hard time putting it down.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2011

    Reads like a suspense novel

    I read this book when it first came out & I just couldn't put it down! Even though the main characters are real people, this book reads like a Suspense Novel! I sat up to the wee hours of the morning until I finished reading this book. I couldn't stop reading until I found out everything that happened! David Grann talks about the Amazon with such passion that you can't help but feeling like you are right there inside the pages of this book. It's a "must read!"

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A GREAT book to take on a backpacking, hiking, or camping trip!

    A great mix of the past and present. I found Grann's writing style very absorbing and very hard to put down! You not only get to follow the steps of a famous explorer lost long ago, but also get to follow the author as he searches for clues to what happened to Fawcett and if his lost city in South America can be found. This is pretty much a true adventure book! I really could picture myself with both Fawcett and Grann fighting my way through jungles of the past. It would make a great book to take on a backpacking, camping, hiking trip!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2010

    An Amazing and True Story!

    The classic story of one man acting on his beliefs and going against the traditional thinking of his time. It was very rewarding to learn that Colonel Fawcett was correct in his beliefs about about civilization in the Amazon. This book made me realize how the traditionalist thinking of government and academia resist the advancement of knowledge to preserve their invested positions and beliefs. Mankind's knowledge advances despite these institutions due to the courage of individuals that are willing to go against the conventional and traditional thinking promoted by these instigutions. A VERY good read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2010

    Great Read!

    I don't read nonfiction often, but this book was great! Unlike other nonfiction I've read it was written in narrative form for the most part. The story of Colonel Percy Jackson is not one I'd heard before, and Grann was able to tell it very well. I would highly recommend this can't put it down read for any history buff.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2010

    An Interesting Read

    Well written with an excellent pace despite a barrage of factoids and dates, this well researched book provides a peek into the psyche and motivations of all those individuals that call themselves "explorers". Structured around a biography of the mysterious disappearance of British explorer Percy Fawcett while searching for the lost city of Z, the author does a great job of weaving the culture and prevailing thinking of the times and the mystery of the wilderness around the Amazon River.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Diary of a time long past...

    A meticulously researched chronicle of Colonel Percy Fawcett and his many expeditions into the Amazon at the turn of the century.

    He was an extraordinary man; a quick learner, possessor of an iron will, steely determination and an unrivaled confidence in his abilities. He truly went where none had gone before.

    This is the story of his education by the Royal Geographic Society, his many expeditions into the Amazon jungles, and finally his search for the spectacular Lost City of Z. It tells of his family, colleagues and later the researchers who tried to find him and any trace of his final lost expedition.

    You get the feeling that you are step in step with Fawcett in his travels, with occasional insights into the how and why of his world.

    Later, the author, a non-traveler, takes his own journey to the Amazon jungle to try and follow Fawcett and possibly find out definitively what became of him.

    Does he succeed? It's well worth the time to find out!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    Good story, bad end

    The basic premise of this book sounded awesome and the book stared out that way. However, the ending was disappointing. I didn't feel that the author actually ever gave a good final account of what happened to the explorer's. The author talks in the final chapter that he is tired and wants to go home and that's where he leaves the ending. So the reader is still left wondering why all the research to prove so much of the beginning of the book and at the end just say, here's what I think happened and I'm going home.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    I really enjoyed this!

    This was one of those reads that just leaves you amazed at the world we live in. It would have been great for fiction, and it is just incredible that it is not. Goes between present day and the story of the explorer the author is trying to find, and both tales are riveting. One of the few books I told other people about while I was reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Nonstop adventure

    An incredible strange well written twisted tale, which kept me riveted to my nook, a completely satisfying read delving into excitement, mystery, adventure, and crazy imagination a nonstop thriller. I love reading historical non-fiction books, felt sad when I finished. I read a review that said "Percey Fewcett was the Forrest Gump of his time" LOL. If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy reading "Longitude" by Dava Sobel. A good short story on the history of technology and race to solve the longitude problem, a tale of John Harrison, a carpenter turned clockmaker.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Fascinating

    One of the best books I have read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Exciting, well written, impressed !!

    Having lived in South America, lived in the tropics of Bolivia and jungle of Peru all my senses became alive with the adventures of the seekers of the Lost City. My father was a civil enginner and was exposes to many of the elements that was written in the book. Worth reading more than once !!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting and informative account of British explorer Percy Fawcett's obsession with finding an ancient "lost" city in South America.

    A well-written, although sometimes hard to follow, account of the attempts by British explorer, Percy Fawcett, to find the location of an ancient city that was supposedly inhabited by an advanced and very wealthy Indian civilization. His efforts are reported by the book's author, David Grann, who attempts to track Fawcett's last journey into the Amazon river region of Brazil where Fawcett and his companion were lost and never heard from again. The descriptions of Fawcett's courage, determination and perseverance are remarkable and mark him as a truly special person. He was also strongly supported in every way by his wife who, to her death many years after his disappearance, never gave up hope that her husband was still alive and would someday return.
    A good adventure story that provided an insight into the mentality of those who risk their lives and suffer greatly while trying to increase the world's knowledge of little-known places and societies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2010

    fantastic book!

    Highly recommended... a great mix of adventure, history, and biography. Very well researched and I loved learning about not only Fawcett but other explorers from the late 18th/early 19th century. Very well written as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2010

    great non fiction for the fiction reader!

    I have to first say that I am a tried and true non fiction reader! You'd be hard pressed to find a fiction book on my shelf that has been more than leafed thru. That being said...I loved this book. At the check out, the clerk recommended it to me and I was leary, but once I started reading it, I was hooked. Very adventurous and fun. I was ready to go on a treasure hunt when I was done reading it! buy this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 586 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 30