Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Lost City of Z by David Grann is one of the best true-life adventure stories I’ve ever read. In this book author David Grann embarks on a journey around the world in search of documents, clues, interviews, and a jungle trek through the Amazon to uncover what he can regarding the disappearance of Colonel Percy Fawcett in the Amazon jungle in 1925.

Colonel Fawcett is best known for his Amazon jungle exploration activities in the early twentieth century. He was renowned for his strength, stamina, immunity, and will power; all qualities that made him the last great Victorian era explorer. Unlike many other explorers, he chose to travel in small, hand-picked parties and readily befriended the natives. While most explorers were exploring the rivers by boat, Colonel Fawcett often trekked over land with machete in hand through dense rainforest with little food and massive insect problems day and night.

At one point Colonel Fawcett becomes obsessed with finding El Dorado, the city of gold, he called Z. David Grann makes unearths diaries, documents, logs, and letters to bring the reader into the jungle to experience Colonel Fawcett’s account of his travels and the quest for Z. Colonel Fawcett’s companions journals and letters are also used to show what it was like to be in his exploration party and to give first hand accounts of what the Colonel was like.

This book was incredibly educational yet exciting to read. No doubt any reader will feel like they are in the jungle suffering the heat, hunger, humidity, and incredible awesomeness of the Amazon. The end of the book provides an exhaustive chapter by chapter bibliography and reference section. Even though this book read like a novel, it was based in truth and should be a gem to those interested in the early twentieth century European exploration of South America.


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