In the early 1900’s, Colonel Percy Fawcett was a popular, well-known, and admired explorer of the Amazon. He helped map the border of Argentina and Brazil, found the source of the Rio Verde, and documented several civilizations. And in 1925 he disappeared…leaving behind an unsolved mystery that has puzzled other explorers for years. What happened to Colonel Fawcett, his son, and his son’s friend? Where are their bodies? Did they ever find the lost city of “Z” that enthralled Fawcett for years? Did “Z” even really exist?
In The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, David Gran, a staff writer for The New Yorker, recounts the history of explorers in the Amazon, Fawcett’s life, the many speculations on what happened, and his own attempt at retracing Fawcett’s steps and finding the city of Z.
Filled with amazing detail and extensive research, it’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in adventure, exploration, a history of civilizations, and the Amazon. And as Grann assures readers: “everything in this story is true: a movie star really was abducted by Indians; there were cannibals, ruins, secret maps, and spies; explorers died from starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and poisonous arrows.”
It’s truly a story of adventure, discovery, and, as promised, obsession. The obsession with exploration in the 1900’s, Fawcett’s obsession with the city of Z, and the obsession of trying to find out what really happened to Fawcett—in fact, it is estimated that more than 100 people have died searching for that answer.
Readers will also learn about the history of the Amazon—its’ ancient civilizations, its’ dangers, and the affect of the European “discovery.” And, of course, readers will learn about the idea of Z: “The ancient city, with its network of roads and bridges and temples, was believed to be hidden in the Amazon, the largest jungle in the world. In an age of airplanes and satellites, the area remains one of the last blank spaces on the map. For hundreds of years, it has haunted geographers, archaeologists, empire builders, treasure hunters, and philosophers.”
After reading The Lost City of Z…it may haunt you, too.
(If this book isn’t enough for you, Fawcett is believed to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones, a character in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, and, the rumor is that Brad Pitt’s recent scraggly beard was because he will be playing Fawcett in an upcoming movie.)
Title: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Author: David Grann
Year Published: 2010
ISBN number: 1400078458, 978-1400078455
Formats available: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Photo by: carapana, www.sxc.hu