Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gut-Wrenching History of Amazon Jungle Explorations, 3 May 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)
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. Fawcett was blessed by amazing stamina, great physical strength, remarkable ability to learn indigenous languages, charm that worked on those who were about to kill him, and a seeming immunity to the worst of the various illnesses that usually beset jungle adventurers. He also didn't like those who didn't keep up or questioned his approach . . . a very hard man to follow, indeed.

The book's weakness is that it deals too superficially with many of the most interesting aspects of the story such as the anthropology of the Amazon basin as understood today, the prior Amazon booms (such as the rubber boom), and the ways that explorers learned their craft.

I was very impressed by the research that Mr. Grann did to look for Fawcett's route toward Z. That aspect of the story is almost as good as the better murder mysteries that I enjoy. It's well told, as well.

I thought that his self-descriptions otherwise were a bit overdone and often didn't ring quite true. Could there have been some exaggeration added for effect?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Donald Mitchell
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 132,000 Helpful Votes Globally

Top Reviewer Ranking: 461