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Most Helpful Favorable Review
15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.
TRUTH CAN BE STRANGER THAN FICTION
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, 2009Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.
posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2011
Posted July 4, 2011
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Posted June 19, 2011
the amazing true story of Col. Percy Fawcett, a man who wouldn't give up on his dream of finding utopia in the Amazon, no matter the cost - what struck me most was his incredible courage and determination to explore places that, quite literally, no man had ever gone before. at the time that his adventures took place (the early 1900's) there were very few resources available to guide him on his quest - he relied on his compass, a machete and his very keen senses to make his way through the jungle - this story shows that you don't necessarily need material things to pursue your goals, just a strong will and the desire to turn your dreams into reality.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2011
A Bit of History and a Bit of Adventure
"The Lost City of Z" by David Grann is a non-fiction account of the author's trip to Brazil following the footsteps of previous explorers. The book is part character study, part history, part archeological and part adventure story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Percy Fawcett was a British explorer who disappeared in the Amazon region looking for a lost city which he named "Z". Many explorers have tried trace his footsteps and even find him while his legend kept on living and growing larger.
David Grann, an American journalist, decided also to try his luck, but instead of gathering equipment and bulldozing ahead, he first did some amazing research and what he found is astounding.
I have visited the Amazon region way back in 1992 and have enjoyed my adventures there immensely. I'm glad I did it in my early 20's, I don't think that I'd have the time or the fortitude for such a trip, even though, to be honest a few days in the jungle did me some good (I hope, some of the more descriptive consequences of being in the jungle which can be discovered decades later left me a bit leery).
Which is why I read "The Lost City of Z" by David Grann, possibly reliving my youthful adventure? I actually wish I would have read these books before going, I would have appreciated what I was doing much more, even though getting stung by fire ants would still have sucked with or without the knowledge.
The book tells about Grann's fascination with "Z", a mythical city mentioned by famed explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett disappeared in the Amazon region and left no clue as to where he was going. The opposite is true, at the time exploring was a competitive field and he actually left false information thinking that someone else might beat him to find the lost city.
Fawcett starts off as a heroic figure, but ultimately ends up as a tragic one. He puts his life, family and fortune with his focused obsession, however he looked at the trees and ultimately missed the forest.
The ending of the book left me dumbfounded - I must do more research on the information presented, especially in the last chapter. That information that Michael Heckenberger discovered could literally change the history we think we know and our appreciation of the Indian tribes living in the area.
Posted February 16, 2011
Posted February 12, 2011
This type of book is not my usual read, but I will admit that once you pick up this title you won't be able to put it down! David Grann has taken an already interesting story and turned it into an adventure that I could not stop reading. It's as though you were reading something out of Hollywood, when in fact it's a true life account of Percy Fawcett and his exploration of the Amazon in the early 1900's. Very enjoyable anyone with a taste for adventure would not go wrong with this novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2010
Stranger than fiction!
Unbelievable read! I had a blast reading this book (and it was WAY outside of my normal fare). It was so good, that I've since gifted it several times. One recipient even took it to her book club, and everyone else went to order a copy!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
David Grann must be insane. He not only to left his cushy city life to follow the footsteps of a superhuman wilderness explorer of the early 1900's, he wrote a book that was part "David's Journal," and part "P.H. Fawcett Biography." What resulted though, was an amazing journey that contrasted the life of one of the last great explorers before technology began to assist (radios, aerial photography, etc.), versus the early use of technology, versus the modern day method of hiring a tour guide to show the way and carry your gear. An absolute must-read, regardless of your usual reading preferences.
Posted October 19, 2010
This book was very exciting!
It's rare to find a nonfiction book that's as good as this is. From the very beginning I was involved in the story and couldn't put the book down until the last page! What an awesome book. If your looking for a great read, don't miss this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2010
Couldn't put it down
What a mystery. So well written that you can picture yourself along with the adventure itself. Very good book. Historically interesting and just a good read in itself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
A Thrilling Adventure
David Grann remarks that one of the common strains in his writing is obsession. In The Lost City of Z Grann gives us a biographical and anthropological history of Colonel Perry Fawcett's expeditions, said to be the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. The world of Fawcett is delightfully recounted through the views of some of his contemporaries such as biologist James Murrary. Fawcett had quite an interesting expedition with the renowned Arctic explorer Murrary, whose body eventually became infested by maggots.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
All adventure aside this book combines biography, adventure, science, and Grann's own personal narrative into one gripping tale about the last frontier on Earth. Grann's writing is simple and punchy. What ties the whole book together is Grann's own descent into madness and his obsession with finding out what happened to Fawcett. In the end we find that archeologist Michael Heckenberger's work might prove that Fawcett's quest for Z was not so crazy after all.
Posted June 1, 2010
A fascinating journey through time and the Amazon rainforest
I just finished reading "The Lost City of Z" and I found all the stories within the book very intriguing. It's primarily the story of Percy Harrison Fawcett, a daring member of the Royal Geographical Society who believed that a great civilization existed in the wildest region of the Amazon rain forest. The Europeans who first visited South America in the 15th century called it El Dorado, based on rumors they heard of a wealthy and golden city. Fawcett called it Z, for reasons he never explained. (I think it's because it's in the middle of the AmaZon.)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
David Grann heard the story of Fawcett's expeditions and became fascinated by a mystery that has enthralled people for 85 years. On his last journey, Fawcett, his son Jack, and Jack's best friend Raleigh, disappeared without a trace. Were they killed by diseases or parasites? Captured by a hostile local tribe? And did they ever find Z?
Grann did much of the same research into the old myths and legends that Fawcett did, visiting libraries around the globe to study original documents. He talked with Fawcett's family members and obtained access to private notes and logs never seen by the outside world. He read through years of newspaper clippings, talked with modern explorers who also risked their lives searching for answers to Fawcett's disappearance, and he hired a guide and traveled deep into the Amazon to meet some of the last people - children then, now the elders of their tribes - who saw Fawcett and his party alive.
Grann does a great job of keeping the reader in suspense throughout the story. He'll tell a bit of the story from nearly a century ago, then spend a few pages on a modern expedition, ending the chapter with the group's kidnapping. Then he'll spend a few more chapters talking about Fawcett's life, his own experience finding himself alone in the Amazon with the bushes rustling around him, then return to one of Fawcett's many trips into the region. By the end, everything is resolved, except for the book's core mystery -- what exactly happened to Fawcett, his son, and their friend?
"The Lost City of Z" is an engaging and interesting read, and I highly recommend it.
A Truly Fun Book
The author just falls in love with his topic and runs with it-ending up in the deepest Amazon himself. The result is an easy-to-read page-turner. While the book anchors on the adventures of British explorer Percy Fawcett and his obsession with a lost civilization, it covers Amazonian exploration generally. In so doing, it depicts the incredible endurance of the jungle explorers and the torture they put themselves through in search of an ideal.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Note: I read this on the Nook, which doesn't do well by the picture section.
The Lost World
The Lost City of Z conjures up multiple images of vanished cities, brave explorers, and even the legends of the Spanish conquistadors. I ended up with two copies of the book -- one to keep in the car to read on breaks, and the other to put beside my bed. I had vowed to stay away from fiction for Lent, but I missed nothing by reading the Lost City. One other image kept popping into my mind as I read the story of these two parallel explorers. The animated movie, "Up," kept a steady position on the edge of my reading, if only because of the 1930s legend who vanished into south America. David Grann does a fine job of alternating between the past and the present. He carefully inserts leads to other famous people and storytellers of the past, citing H.G.Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and especially Conan Doyle. The strangest part of this story is the very truth of the story. I had the distinct feeling that Grann was on a pilgrimage. He could not find the lost explorer, but he could and does vindicate him. Dig out some 1930s and 40s newsreels on Youtube. They will enhance the story of the lost city and the lost explorers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2010
Posted March 20, 2010
Posted March 20, 2010
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Posted July 13, 2009
Get Lost in this book
I love history and also a well written story, and David Grann brings them together perfectly. I couldn't put this book down and told everyone I knew about it. It's a real life mystery-thriller, and I highly recommend it to anyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2009
A Real Page Turner!
We live in a town on the first/last stop of a commuter railroad line so I usually don't pay much attention to the on and off of my fellow commuters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I had started reading Lost City on my way home one night and suddenly the lights went out! The train had come to the end of the line and everyone (but me) had disembarked and the doors were locked and lights shut off. I didn't notice since I was so engrossed in the book. My husband, waiting to pick me up at the station, became concerned when I didn't emerge from the train I said I was taking. I called him on my cell and he had to find the conductor to open the doors--I'll never live that one down!
David Grann's superb story of the Amazon continued to be a real page turner to the very end. An amazing mix of riveting adventure story and meticulous research about a part of the world that continues to fascinate. Well worth the teasing I'll get!
Posted June 7, 2009