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

David Grann
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Feb 2009
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 details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Edition edition (16 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847374360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847374363
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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'

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By enepi
I took this book in the public library by pure chance. I had heard very very vaguely of Fawcett and nothing about the author.
I decided to read the book after having it at home for a few weeks and I could not put it down till I finished.

Serious journalistic approach, daring investigation transports you to the last era of victorian pioneers. It is impossible not to feel you are also questing for Fawcett's adventures and fate.

A real susprise. Give it a chance a get hooked on it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic stuff 22 Aug 2012
By Michael
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For any lovers of adventure stories, and conspiracy theories, that sort of thing, this is the book for you. I genuinely couldn't put it down. It's very well written and researched, and will undoubtably have even the most close minded and reluctant of you considering a journey to the Amazon to pick up where Fawcett left off. A great read, you really can't go wrong here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazon adventure in your living room 14 Jun 2012
By R Helen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just loved this book and would definitely recommend it. I picked it up after having read Robert Whitaker's The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale Of Love, Murder And Survival In The Amazon. The Amazon jungle is just one of those places that terrifies, yet excites the imagination. I find it incredible that in 2012, there are still parts of the Amazon that no man has ever been to before and tribes that have never made outside contact. How could David Grann, a simple journalist, set out to explore the Amazon, knowing that many before him have failed? I am amazed and impressed and happy he did. I just loved that his quest follows Fawcett's quest. It adds to the excitement and mystery of the story. It is such a gem of a book. I had never heard of Percy Harrison Fawcett before, but his story is both fascinating and tragic. And Jack Fawcett and Raleigh Rimmel? Heartbreaking. There is nothing not to like about this book. It's fast paced; filled with adventure and history; and well worth every minute you spend on it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
item is good just as described, thanks
Published 1 month 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 7 months ago by Argyris Periferakis
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
This is great book about exploring Amazonia jungle and story behind ''El Dorado''.If Hollywood will make a movie based on on story of Colonel Fawcett - it will become a great movie... Read more
Published 7 months ago by MR VLADIMIR LAURENCIK
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost City of Z
The inspiration behind Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World, Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was among the last of a long line of British gentlemen explorers. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Erin Britton
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure
I loved this book. It is inspiring and will make even the biggest armchair sloth into a wannabe amazon explorer. I can't understand why it's out of print.
Published 11 months ago by TOG
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
If like me you are a dashing daredevil full of charm, wit and adventurous spirit, you will love this book. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A real life Amazon adventure
David Grann is the type of writer who regularly proves that fact is more interesting than fiction. In this book he embarks on a epic journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paul
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