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The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon [Kindle Edition]

David Grann
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into 'blank spots' on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and unwavering sense of purpose. In 1925, one of the few remaining blank spots in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the impenetrable jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization like El Dorado, which he christened the 'City of Z'. When he and his son set out to find it, hoping to make one of the most important archeological discoveries in history, they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. For the next eighty years, hordes of explorers -- shocked that a man many deemed invincible could disappear in a land he knew better than anyone, and drawn by the centuries-old myth of El Dorado -- searched for the expedition and the city. Many died from starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and poisonous arrows. Others simply vanished.
In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and his followers, in a bracing attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries. It is an irresistibly readable adventure story, a subtle examination of the strange and often violent encounters between Europeans and Amazonian tribes and a tale of lethal obsession.

Product Description


'Fluid, energetic and brilliantly readable . . . It is an endless pleasure to be in the hands of a historical writer such as this'

` A genuine page-turner' -- BBC Focus Magazine

`A cracking read . . . It's also a story of magnificent obsession' -- Wanderlust

`A cracking read . . . marvellous' -- Geographical Magazine

`A rattling good tale' -- Daily Express


` A genuine page-turner'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 813 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (10 Aug. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9GRQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,518 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Life Adventure... 10 July 2010
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I doubt that I would have picked up `The Lost City of Z' if it wasn't for the fact that I am actually going off to spend time in the Amazon, and I would have been missing out on an absolute treat. If you are planning on heading out into the vast jungle then you really couldn't ask for a better book for warning s of just what awful things can be lurking in the trees, rivers and even the air. It also makes the book rather grisly from time to time, mind you this book is really in the main a jungle from 1911 - 1950 so I am hoping in the now if you had a `vampire fish' making your nether regions a home or were slowly ingested by nesting maggots a nearby hospital might do the trick. Mind you I don't think anyone could stop the venom of a Jararaca snake killing you very painfully rather quickly. Sorry let me expand on this a little better; I think my excitement and enthusiasm for this book might mean I come across a little disjointed in my thoughts, bear with me.

In part really David Grann's book, for it isn't a novel, is a biography of the life and quests of Percy Harrison Fawcett and what became his obsession of finding the Lost City of El Dorado, a man who I had never heard of and yet a man whose quests and eventual disappearance had the world gripped for years back in the 1920's. Fawcett had a lust for adventure from an early age and in his life time as well as being an adventurer he was also a spy and fought in WWI, the latter is hinted as the cause of his obsession with the lost city, a kind of coping mechanism for all he saw during the conflict on the battlefield. He became so well known along with his adventures many believe he was the inspiration for his friend Conan Doyle's `The Lost World' which I am now going to have to read very soon.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
If you like to know about real-life adventures, you'll enjoy this book. David Grann writes convincingly in grisly detail about the many dangers and drawbacks of hacking your way through the Amazon jungle to find what might remain of "lost" cities described in legend.

The Amazon basin has been home to many extravagant legends -- El Dorado (where gold is used like talcum powder), Amazonians (beautiful, but dangerous, female warriors), strange "white" men, and bizarre cannibals. One of the most determined seekers in the jungle was British Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, one of the most highly decorated South American explorers in the first part of the 20th century, and a former spy and military officer.

The Lost City of Z recounts Fawcett's last expedition into the jungle, from which he did not return. Since then, lots of people have launched unsuccessful, an often lethal, searches for him. David Grann makes his own, following a route that careful research suggests may have been where Fawcett went. The book's conclusion will surprise you.

The story is written on several parallel planes: Fawcett's life; Grann's search for Fawcett; other searches for Fawcett; and the history of exploration into the blank areas of the global map. At first this will seem disjointed and a little precious. By the end, the parallel story lines wrap around one another to make one compelling tale. It's a very clever design that I admired very much while reading and appreciate even more now.

The book's strength is that you will get a sense of how dangerous and difficult it was to explore in the Amazon jungle. If one thing didn't get you, something (or someone) else did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down... 30 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is about the celebrated disappearance of the explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925, along with his son and his son's best friend, whilst searching for evidence of what he called 'Z', an ancient lost city from a now-extinct advanced civilisation deep in the Amazon.

In his day Fawcett was as famous as Livingston or Shackleton, so it was a huge story. Many search parties set out in search of him, and most of those failed to return either - the author estimates that somewhere in the region of a hundred people have died trying to solve the mystery of Fawcett's disappearance. The most likely story is that they were killed by hostile tribes, but it's the not-knowing that makes the mystery so delicious.

The book functions on several levels: Fawcett's life and previous explorations, the tale of the exhibition on which he was lost, and the author's own quest to retrace Fawcett's steps and try and discover what happened. It's very well-written, and he really manages to get across just how dangerous and treacherous the Amazon still is, how easy it is to get lost, how far away 'civilisation' can seem when you step off the path even for a moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly judged book 4 Feb. 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A real gem this, and my favourite book of 2009. An absolutely perfect book for those lovers of adventure and old romance, and any who feel that giddy 'grip' on the imagination when they think of El Dorado, conquistadors, clouds of poison darts, perilous rope bridges and cities of gold. I dare say any with a passing interest in South America would also greatly enjoy it. That continent interested me about as much as a bucket of beige paint, but after this wonderful book I have sought out as many books and articles about it as I could - everything from William H. Prescott to Hiram Bingham. None, as yet, have quite satisfied the fascination aroused here - certainly not so wholly as Grann manages to.

Interweaving the modern-day investigations of the author, and the historic efforts of British explorer Col Fawcett to find the Lost City of Z, it is a compelling, fascinating read. A wonderful mixture of old and new. May the author turn his attentions to other such men who walked off the edge of the map and, if they found not the empires of wonder they aimed for, nevertheless mightily enlarged the hearts and fancies of man and boy alike for ages after.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great price and quick delivery
Published 3 months ago by T Singh
5.0 out of 5 stars 1920's adventure at its very best
I was brought up on legends such as this and have read numerous accounts of Colonel Fawcett’s ‘fantastical’ discovery of a city in the Amazonian jungle. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jules
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting book.
An enjoyable account of an obsession that had it's start in the mind of a late Victorian explorer. Very well written and full of interest of this eccentric and doomed man. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ghost
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by alan ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Superb guide to the area and a wonderful read.
Published 5 months ago by Stephen Bywater
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
item is good just as described, thanks
Published 7 months ago by mr benjamin david jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and exciting
Yes this was definitely one for me. Pacey writing style, interesting descriptions and an adventure as well. I like truth rather than fiction so this appealed to me hugely.
Published 8 months ago by Noura
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Bought the kindle version and was really enjoying the book, got to 50% only to realise that it was the end of the book and the rest was references which was hug!ey disappointing! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kathryn Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but doesn't quite deliver on its promises
In 1925 Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett led an expedition including his son Jack into the Amazonian jungle. Read more
Published 10 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog
4.0 out of 5 stars The telling of an "endless" journey.
Personally, this is the first time that i have heard of the Fawcett expedition. So, as far as this book is concerned, I consider it a very fine introduction into the matter. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Argyris Periferakis
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