After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?
In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization – which he dubbed “Z” – existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.
Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z” –became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth, and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z,” form the heart of this enthralling narrative.
Praise for The Lost City Of Z
‟A riveting, exciting and thoroughly compelling tale of adventure.”
‟The story of Fawcett is brought vividly alive … Poisoned arrows, cannibalism, impenetrable canopies of rainforest, incomprehensible maps, utility-pole-size pythons, stiff upper lips, gray-bearded geographers, steam packets, naked jungle folk and incessant drumming … all figure boldly in the epic. … What makes Mr. Grann’s telling of the story so captivating is that he decides not simply to go off in search of yet more relics of our absent hero—but to go off himself in search of the city that Fawcett was looking for so heroically when he suddenly went AWOL.”
The Lost City of Z, by New Yorker writer David Grann, recounts Fawcett’s expeditions with all the pace of a white-knuckle adventure story. The book is a model of suspense and concision. By the end, Grann wins us over with his own hard-won experience. He has geared up, abandoned his family and climbed into the vortex himself—stung by his subject’s obsession. But Grann differs from Fawcett in two important ways: Unlike the colonel, he knows he is no match for this badland; and equally unlike him, he lives to tell the tale.
What a grand tale it is!…Thoroughly researched, vividly told, this is a thrill ride from start to finish.”