Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 17 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

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 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

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