Customer Reviews


57 Reviews
5 star:
 (31)
4 star:
 (17)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Life Adventure...
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,...
Published on 10 July 2010 by Simon Savidge Reads

versus
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Disjointed and Diluted for Me
A few months ago, I heard the author interviewed on a radio talk show about this book. I generally like travelogues in which a modern journalist undertakes some kind of journey linked to the past (for example, retracing Marco Polo's route), so I was intrigued by Grann's search for the truth about a British explorer who disappeared into the Amazonian jungle in 1925. I had...
Published on 17 Jun. 2009 by A. Ross


‹ Previous | 1 2 36 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic piece of adventurer-historical-detectivesque journalism, 26 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon (Hardcover)
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 work...it 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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Disjointed and Diluted for Me, 17 Jun. 2009
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon (Hardcover)
A few months ago, I heard the author interviewed on a radio talk show about this book. I generally like travelogues in which a modern journalist undertakes some kind of journey linked to the past (for example, retracing Marco Polo's route), so I was intrigued by Grann's search for the truth about a British explorer who disappeared into the Amazonian jungle in 1925. I had also read several of Grann's lengthy essays in The New Yorker, and found them all very compelling despite covering quite disparate topics.

Given Grann's background in magazine journalism, it shouldn't be too surprising that his debut book has the feel of being a series of interesting magazine articles that have been collected and expanded. There are three storylines, each of which is somewhat interesting, but fall somewhat short of being truly gripping. Wisely, Grann (or his editors) chose to interweave them, forcing the reader to switch back and forth in time and topic, thus preventing any one storyline from growing too tedious.

The main thread is a retelling of the life and adventurous times of British explorer extraordinaire Percy Fawcett. This is not exactly a new story (Fawcett wrote a ton, as did his brother, son, and others), but Grann manages to unearth a few new sources, thus adding to the historical record. Fawcett's claim to fame was his prodigious work mapping the area around the Bolivian and Brazilian border, which involved epic struggles against the Amazonian jungle. The second storyline is the archaeological/anthropological/historical debate about whether or not the Amazon could have ever supported large-scale civilizations that could have built "lost" cities. The third strand is Grann's own journey through archives, and eventually into the Amazon in search of Fawcett's last known location and his top-secret destination.

While there are nuggets of interesting material throughout, the to-ing and fro-ing between storylines and periods makes for a rather disjointed and diluted read. As a result, the material on Fawcett ends up feeling mostly like a potted history of established material (except for his tracking down of one of Fawcett's granddaughters, who rather incredibly has old notebooks of Fawcett's that Grann is allegedly the first to see). At times, it seems like even Grann grows weary of distilling the Fawcett lore (for example, when he glosses over some of the rescue attempts, including ones by an American WWI vet and one by "a band of Brazilian bandits"!). Meanwhile, the controversy over Amazonian civilization is carefully built up over the course of the book, which makes it feel somewhat gimmicky when Grann finally pulls away the curtain to reveal what the latest research indicates. He must have known all this early on, but chooses to withhold it for a rather stagey "revelation" at the end. But his own role in the book is so understated and undramatic that it's not surprising he resorts to this construction in order to enliven the story and add some much-needed drama.

On the whole, it's not a bad tale, just one that's a little too drawn out for my taste and depends a little too much on teasing the reader. The one element that was consistently surprising and interesting to me was the natural danger present in the Amazon areas Fawcett trekked in. Finally, as a postscript, it dawned on me about twenty pages in that many years ago, as a child, I had encountered a fictionalized Fawcett in the pages of an old Tintin (The Broken Ear), which features a hermit-like white man in the jungle named "Ridgewell" who must have been based on the real Fawcett.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic stuff, 22 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Tantalising..., 11 Dec. 2011
By 
Boot-Boy (Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In 1925 an English explorer called Percy Harrison Fawcett took his son and his son's best friend into the Amazon jungle in search of the legendary El Dorado, Fawcett's Lost City of Z. The three men were never seen again. Whether they were eaten by cannibals or killed by wild animals or were simply swallowed up in the green hell of the Amazon no-one will ever know, though scores of people have subsequently died in attempts to establish what actually happened. Deservedly shortlisted in 2009 for the Samuel Johnson Prize, American journalist David Grann's rivetting account of Fawcett's obsessive life-long quest for an ancient civilization first reported by Spanish conquistadores is a thoroughly engrossing mix of history, biography and derring-do adventure. If I have a gripe it's that the print size of this edition is miniscule and that the index references appear to be out by a couple of pages, but this in no way detracts from what stands as a gripping, well-researched and thought-provoking read right up to its last tantalising chapter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Indeed!, 10 May 2009
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon (Hardcover)
I have to give the book its full title "The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon". Impressive eh? And truth be told, it is an impressive book. It charts the life story of Percy Fawcett, an intrepid British explorer who was the last of the great explorers. It has been suggested many times that the character of Indiana Jones, amongst others, was based upon the larger than life tales of this amazing and fascinating man.

Fawcett disappeared in 1925 in the Amazon along with his son and his son's friend. Over the years he had spent in the jungle, he had become convinced of the existence of a great and ancient civilisation, which he enigmatically called Z. He wasn't the first European to fall into this train of thought. After all, the legend of El Dorado has been around for centuries.

Fawcett's reputation, resilience and strength as an Amazonian explorer was legendary, yet Fawcett had to fight hard to obtain funding for his final expedition. At the time, his ideas were generally disdained. Scientific study of the Amazon declared that, despite the apparent abundance of the jungle, it was generally incapable of sustaining a large human population. The journals and diaries of fellow explorers describe hardship, dense growth, vicious burrowing insects, hostile warlike natives and many incapacitating illnesses. People simply did not believe that a great civilisation once existed in the Amazon.

Fawcett sent many letters from the jungle on his last expedition, describing his adventures for newspaper columns the world over. But the letters stopped and Fawcett was never seen or heard from again. Over the years, stories would emerge from the jungle of a white man seen with native tribes, or the son of a white man, but no definite evidence of the fate of the expedition was ever uncovered.

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and this is his first novel. He freely admits to becoming absorbed with the subjects about which he is writing. In the case of this book, he decided to follow in the footsteps of Percy Fawcett and venture into the thick Amazon jungle. He studied the surviving Fawcett journals and documents and obtained access to hitherto unread family archives. By piecing together a new perspective on Fawcett, Grann entered the jungle and revealed how Fawcett may not have been that far off the mark after all.

Grann's writing is superb. He moves seamlessly between the past and present. His research into the scientific and historical aspects of the Amazon help form a fascinating and truly entertaining biography of this amazing man and his quest. Fawcett emerges as a character who had the courage of his convictions and an amazing capacity for action. This tale is a fitting tribute to a larger-than-life character.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A real life Amazon adventure, 23 July 2013
By 
Paul (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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 in an attempt to solve the mystery of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925 while searching for an El Dorado-like civilisation known as the City of Z. Grann tells the fascinating story of Fawcett, and the stories of others who followed him into the jungle, while preparing for his own Amazon quest.

It's a real page-turner, diligently researched and skilfully written. Does he find Fawcett or the City of Z? No spoilers. The cover informs that Brad Pitt has optioned the story - read it before he makes the movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend This One -- a review of The Lost City of Z, 2 Jun. 2009
This review is from: The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon (Hardcover)
I rather imagine that "The Lost City of Z " is going to be in my Top 10 Reads of 2009. I say this because it's a book that has so much going for it: Adventure, Mystery, Tantalizing Facts... not to mention that it is well written.

The book is about Sir Percy Fawcett. A member of the Royal Geographic Society, Fawcett was a remarkable explorer and a man who managed to captivate the attention of people around the world in the early part of the 20th Century. Newspapers and then radio shows reported on his many adventures, and he was the sort of person who people looked up to.

Sir Percy is of interest today not so much for his discoveries, but because of his disappearance. Imagine if you will, a man who seems indestructible. He disappears frequently into the wilds of the Amazon on numerous expeditions, and when he reappears, he is one of the few who managed to survive the parasites, the lack of readily available food, disease, and the unfriendly natives. Scores of men who travel with him succumb to violence and pestilence, and yet Sir Percy seems to thrive on the environment-- very much like a tropical Lawrence of Arabia.

Now imagine that he out in the middle of the tropical rainforest, he finds pottery. Not simple pinch-pots, but beautifully decorated shards of ceramics. This relics are found in huge piles, along what appears to be the remnants of roads. Such findings, along with observations of various trusted tribesmen, is what caused Sir Percy to conclude that somewhere out in the Amazon that there was a lost city. A city he calls Z.

Driven by ego and the desire to be THE ONE to discover this lost kingdom, Percy then gathers supplies and his favorite son and heads out into the forest. He tells his wife that he will be gone for some time. The world holds it's breath, and waits. And ultimately no one returns. And despite expedition after expedition that is sent out, or which goes out despite warnings, no sign of him is ever found.

Speculation went unbridled. Some were, and probably still are, convinced that Fawcett found Z. The question is how do you figure out if that is the truth, or if some horrible fate finally destroyed the man.

If you want to find out whether Fawcett was a genius or a quack, you will have to read the book. I'll only say that "The Lost City of Z" was a great read and that I thought Grann's characterizations were brilliantly done. When I came to the last chapter I felt I not only knew about all the cast, but also had a good grasp of the times, and what it was like to explore the Amazon. [[I can assure you that however much medicine has progressed, and camping gear has improved, that heading out into that rain forest isn't going to pop up on my list of personal aspirations ever again-- I have no interest whatsoever in pinching maggots up from under my skin.]]

Highly Recommend.

If you are a person who enjoys history, or if you are a person who likes a good story with a mystery, I highly recommend "The Lost City of Z" for your Reading list.

Pam T.
reviewer for Page In History.com
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 4 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If like me you are a dashing daredevil full of charm, wit and adventurous spirit, you will love this book.

It perfectly encapsulates the razzle dazzle of old tyme exploration, whilst telling the story of a truly remarkable man.

Having read this book, I find myself constantly dreaming of steamy remote 'virgin' jungle and what may lie there waiting to be discovered. You'll be fascinated, horrified and amazed by some of the experiences detailed but you'll surely be left wanting more.

I simply cannot recommend it highly enough, worth every single penny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A Dog's Egg, Wrapped In Bread!, 19 Mar. 2015
By 
Lord Bage "Adam" (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The story of Colonel (Lieutenant Colonel) Percy Fawcett is an incredibly interesting one. Taking into account his role in WW1, working as a Spy for the British Consul, helping to map the border between Peru and Bolivia(?) and also winning medals from the British Army and the Royal Geographical Society makes for interesting reading. I enjoyed this book, but not enough time was spent on the theories of his disappearance with son Jack and his friend, Raleigh Rimmel.

The last chapter leaves the reader thinking that someone has torn the pages from his book. RASSSPPP!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The telling of an "endless" journey., 15 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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. It balances naturally between contemporary and modern accounts. Maybe I got a little disappointed towards the end as there is no definite conclusion on the matter. However, this is not meant to be a negative comment on the author's work. It is rather more of a wish for a verdict. Overall, it's a nice and relaxing book and serves its purpose as a general information source on the matter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 36 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon
Used & New from: £1.76
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews