The Lost City of Z

29 Jun


Author: David Grann

Genre: Nonfiction

First Published: 2005

Page Count: 319

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*

Rating: 5/5 Stars

An eye-opening, incredible look at one of the world’s last great mysteries – the existence of the lost city Z. 


*Intriguing Mysteries     *In Depth View of the Amazon



“You know, I had a lot of romantic notions about the jungle and this kind of finished that.” Whether you want to call it El Dorado or Z, the idea of a mythical ancient civilization hiding in the Amazon has intrigued many people over the years. Driven by the desire for unimaginable riches or archeological interests, dozens of people have made the journey through the Amazon in search of this hidden city, often dying painful deaths or simply vanishing without a trace. The most famous explorer to attempt to find this city of Z, Percy Fawcett, famously disappeared in the unexplored depths of the Amazon which set off one of the greatest mysteries in the history of exploration. Journalist David Grann reveals all that is known about Fawcett and his expedition in his book, but he also heads into the Amazon himself in an attempt to find both the missing man and the legendary city.

What makes this book so fascinating is the fact that there are multiple captivating questions this book tries to answer. The biggest one is whether the city Z actually exists which the title references, but the next equally important question is what happened to Fawcett and his party in the Amazon that prevented them from ever returning to civilization. The last question is whether, in the present day, our author can, not only figure out what befell Fawcett, but if he will be able to locate Z on his own expedition. I enjoyed the back and forth look at Fawcett’s life story and his journey into the Amazon with the present day hunt for the missing man and the famous city by our author. If I learned anything from this book, it’s that I didn’t know as much about the Amazon as I thought I did and that I never want to go there. Sure, I’d heard about its beauty, how large  it is, and how essential it is to our planet, but I was totally ignorant at how dangerous the jungle actually is. Unbearable humidity, difficult terrain, Indians who dabble in cannibalism, deadly disease, and dangerous wildlife like the vicious piranha, venomous snakes, or the deadly jaguar are just a few of the things that could seriously hurt or kill you on your journey through the Amazon. The author’s descriptions of the injuries explorers have sustained in the rainforest, notably any injuries involving maggots, were horrifying to read about and the cures for these maladies were no less vomit inducing.

The topic of this book is gripping and the story unravels at a satisfying pace that eventually leads to the clearest view that anyone has had on whether the city of Z exists and what happened to Percy Fawcett. You also might get quite an education on what the Amazon is really like through the eyes of explorers that tried to discover all of its secrets. While the idea of a hidden city steeped in riches like El Dorado is intriguing to think about, this book also highlights the fact that even with all the technology we now possess and how much time has gone by, the Amazon is still as dangerous to man as it was when Fawcett went missing in 1925. There is so much to be discovered in this book which makes it a read you should not miss!

* Film Adaptation: (Starring Charlie Hunnam 2017)


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