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Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  849 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
Deep inside “the little Amazon,” the jungles of Honduras’s Mosquito Coast—one of the largest, wildest, and most impenetrable stretches of tropical land in the world—lies the fabled city of Ciudad Blanca: the White City. For centuries, it has lured explorers, including Spanish conquistador Herman Cortes. Some intrepid souls got lost within its dense canopy; some disappeared ...more
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Harper
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Will Byrnes
Jan 11, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it liked it
In reading Jungleland, I was reminded of the tale of the blind men who all describe an entirely different thing based on touching various parts of an elephant. There are significant elements there, and one can appreciate each, and somehow still not get a sense of the whole.

Jungleland is the tale of Wall Street Journal writer Christopher Stewart, on a quest. He had come across information about a remarkable American, Thomas Morde, who, in 1940, had discovered a long-lost city in the jungles of Ho
Feb 26, 2013 Xon rated it it was ok
Just finished the book, still waiting for something to happen. The subtitle suggests espionage, death and adventure and it's just not in here. I got the feeling that Stewart expected an epic trip filled with danger and adventure. He hyped the trip and all along he knew he would return to write a book about his adventure. Probably had the book deal already lined up. I'm guessing Stewart had to exaggerate a bit and build up near interesting events to make this book happen. The death in the sub tit ...more
Nancy Kennedy
Nov 09, 2012 Nancy Kennedy rated it liked it
This story of a man's quest to find the "lost city" of Ciudad Blanca in the Honduran jungle has been compared (at least by the publisher) to Lost in Shangri-La, the story of a plane crash in Dutch New Guinea at the end of WWII. I loved Mitchell Zuckoff's book of the survival of three of the crash victims.

But, this book in no way compares to Mr. Zuckoff's book. Unfortunately, author Christopher Stewart doesn't have the advantage of reporting on an event in which he doesn't have to participate. Mr
Jungleland tells the story of one journalist’s search for the White City (Ciudad Blanca) in the Honduran Jungle based upon some notes found from a World War II spy and adventurer named Theodore Morde who had claimed to discover the city prior to World War II. The city which resides in one of the most heavily wooded rain forests surrounded by indigenous tribes, drug runners and bandits. From the notes for Theodore Morde and interviews with his family the author decides to take a trip to find this ...more
Jul 01, 2016 C-shaw rated it really liked it
It's about the jungles of Honduras! I enjoyed this so much, since I am somewhat familiar with the territory, though not La Mosquitia! The story paralleled two journeys in search of "the White City," one around 1938 and another around 2012. I found it a bit hard to keep the characters in each party separated and I was not entirely pleased with the ending, but it was a crackerjack adventure story and I highly recommend it.
"The scene was not unlike the old cowboy West, a place at the edge of civili
I was warned. I read enough reviews to know that this book does not live up to the exciting title, but I really love these tales of Amazon exploration: the dangerous natives, the many deadly creatures, the rain, the mud.

This book tries to do too much and falls far, far short of the goal. The narrative alternates between the story of Theodore Morde and Stewart's own quest to find the fabled "White City" in modern day Honduras.

Morde claimed to have found what he called the "Lost City of the Monk
Nicola Mansfield
Apr 24, 2013 Nicola Mansfield rated it liked it
A modern day reenactment of an old explorer's search for a lost city in the same vein as David Grann's The Lost City of Z but not of the same calibre as that book. Christopher Stewart follows in the footsteps of Theodore Morde who explored Honduras during the late 1930s looking for the fabled "White City". Chapters alternate between telling Morde's story and Stewart's. Morde's story comes from extensive diaries he kept during his expedition and life. An entertaining story, well-written and an en ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Mar 13, 2013 Luanne Ollivier rated it liked it
Journalist Christopher Stewart first heard of the lost White City on the Mosquito Coast in the Honduras while reporting on the country's drug trade. It piqued his interest and he continued to investigate for his own curiosity. And then curiosity turned into obsession when he stumbled across the journals of Theodore Morde. Morde discovered a lost city in 1940 after four months spent hunting in the jungle. But Morde died before he revealed the location or was able to return to Honduras.

"I just ke
Oct 31, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, vine, non-fiction
Stewart does a great job bringing the reader into the sweltering and oppressive jungle of Honduras through his own personal journey retracing the footsteps of explorer Theodore Morde. During Morde’s own venture into the depths of this perilous land in the late 30’s, he claims to have found the legendary White City, and 70 years later, Stewart is determined to uncover what Morde found. Stewart alternates between Morde’s narrative and his own. Leaving his family and the comfort of his Brooklyn hom ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Gwyn rated it really liked it
I really don't know why this book has such a low average rating, 'cause it's an enjoyable book and worth the four stars I gave it.

In some ways the jacket description is misleading, because the focus is really on Thomas Morde, explorer and spy, rather than Native culture or even the Cuidad Blanca itself. The reason for the author's obsession with Morde--the many similarities and parallels in their lives--is developed throughout the book. The narrative alternates between Stewart's adventures and M
Mar 07, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Another book in the style of "The Lost City of Z" except instead of Brazil we are in Honduras. Same alternating between the present quest and the early 20th Century quest of another explorer, this time an explorer turned OSS agent during WW II. This is a quick read and it's written in a can't put it down manner. Great maps too. Lots of them. And it even has pictures. Would have liked more of the actual ruins though. The author seems like the last type of guy to undertake this journey and it's en ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Elin rated it it was ok
There's a fascinating story in here somewhere. Unfortunately the writing doesn't bear it out.

Stewart alternates chapters about his own adventures in the Honduras jungle with chapters about explorer Theodore Morde, who seems like a great story waiting to happen. But going back and forth between the two narratives is to the detriment of both. Chapters are almost absurdly short -- some are only a page or two -- so the reader has little chance to get involved in either thread before shifting to the
Nov 13, 2012 J.R. rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure
Intrigued by the tale of a fabled lost city and the adventures of an enigmatic explorer, a journalist plunges into the Honduran jungle in search of answers.

The legend of Ciudad Blanca, the White City, goes back to Spanish colonial days and has been compared to the search for El Dorado. It has attracted the attention of dreamers and gold-seekers and men like Charles Lindbergh, Frederick Mitchell-Hedges and George Heye, founder of the Museum of the American Indian, who bankrolled Theodore Morde’s
Harpercollins Canada
Apr 10, 2013 Harpercollins Canada rated it it was amazing
Confession: I love reading adventure stories. I love traveling to exotic locations through the pages of a book (and wouldn’t mind going to a few of them in real life!!).

But, I’m getting away from my point here.

The point is that I loved traveling deep into the jungle with Christopher S. Stewart in Jungleland.

It’s hard to believe sometimes that there are places on this planet that we have yet to explore, but Stewart finds one in his quest in Jungleland. Here, he travels to Honduras in search of t
Dec 02, 2014 Dayle rated it really liked it
Author follows the journal and writings of Ted Morde who searched the jungles of Honduras to find the long-lost "White City", Cuidad Blanca, during the days of World War II. Includes maps to highlight the treks of both Morde and Stewart for comparison.
Susan Emmet
Feb 03, 2016 Susan Emmet rated it it was ok
I'm struggling with my reaction to this book and it's because of many factors.
First, I found Stewart's voice selfish and self-aggrandizing. He did travel the world to dangerous places to write before his marriage and birth of children. However, he knew he was in for a hard and awful journey, but his voice is often warped by self-regard. It's as though all the awesome and awful stuff he saw didn't dig very deeply into him.
I was more taken by the characters of Theodore Morde (who explored the same
May 19, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it
I found this book in the Dollar store, so my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was well researched and well written. Christopher Stewart skillfully weaves together two stories, both about quests for an ancient city in the jungles of Honduras. Part of the story is about the author's search for information on "Ciudad Blanca" and a treasure hunter who went looking for it in the 1940s - Theodore Morde.
Morde is an intriguing shadowy character who later became a spy du
Apr 14, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it
Every once in a while I like to read an adventure type book and there seems to be lots of great stuff in the arena of non-fiction at the moment. A few years back I had read Lost City of Z and this book reminded me of that quite a bit.

This story is told in two parts, one in first-person from the author, Christopher Stewart, and another regarding the expedition of Ted Morde, who had also embarked on a journey to search for the legendary White City in Honduras. Though the journey's were about 70 y
Greg Talbot
Jan 03, 2015 Greg Talbot rated it really liked it
Author, explorer Chris Stewart ventures to Honduras to find the mythical Lost City of the Golden Monkey. Feeling an itch from domestication and waiting to find a story to capture his imagination, he ventures during a perilious time with a military coup underway, and rival drug gangs claiming parts of the jungle as their turf.

Stewart excels in setting up the suspense and adventure of this book. He brings in the haunting of Trujillo, recalling for me Junot Dioz's exquisite "The Brief Wondrous Lif
Apr 16, 2016 Sara rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book for the fact that I completed an archaeological field school in Honduras and similarly trekked through the jungle scouting for possible sites. I felt sympathy with the author in the beginning because I could relate to the complete culture shock you have being in a third world country where you don't speak the language. But seriously after 3 to 5 days you acclimate, not to say you aren't exhausted at the end of the day that you don't fantasize about ridiculous things like snick ...more
Maurice Engler
Nov 28, 2015 Maurice Engler rated it did not like it
I listened to this as an audio book. I thought it was terrible. I grew very tired, very quickly of the repeated references to this Morde character. It is like the author has no identity of his own and is just trying to re-live someone else's life.

The whole book reminded me a lot of material you get from UFO enthusiasts or hunters of Bigfoot. They always manage to forget where they were, lose vital records, take grainy out-of-focus shaky photos- one way or another they always fall short of any de
Jennifer Moore
Apr 15, 2015 Jennifer Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has the start and every intention of being a wonderful travel novel, taking a glimpse into the past world of trolling adventurers hell bent on filling in the maps on the world, and while it does offer some of that excitement it just lacks something.

At times I feel that Stewart is grasping at straws to add climactic cliffs to what otherwise was a drive down the road. I feel also that he lacks a certain virtuosity in the story telling. Trekking through a jungle can either be mundane or
May 29, 2014 NotAnotherJenn rated it really liked it
I can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. I normally shy away from biographies as they are typically written with so many dates, names, times, etc. that I can't absorb it all. This book felt like a fiction novel and I couldn't wait to keep reading it to find out if they found the White City.

The story is told in two timelines, one of Theodore Morde's exploration in the 30's and one of Stewart's in the present day. It's hard to fully understand trekking through the jungle but I was fully engr
Nov 19, 2014 Metalkween rated it liked it

This book dragged and dragged. It jumped back and forth. Just not something I would have read if I knew what it would be like. But I started it, so I had to finish it. The author painstakingly traces the steps of an adventurer from decades ago, to find the White City in Central America, risking his life doing so. Seems like an insane thing to do, a midlife crisis of sorts. But he and his crew march forward and succeed in finding nothing. The title was really misleading. Actually, t
Sheri Struk
Stewart writes of his quest to find the White City in the jungles of Honduras during a time of political unrest in that country. He meets many interesting people (including pirates), encounters all sorts of wildlife (a lot of bugs!) and sees various ancient sites. I'm glad I could live vicariously through the pages of his book because there is no way I would want to be anywhere close to a bullet ant or live for days on end in the dense and constantly wet jungle. The story is interesting, though ...more
Nathan Titus
Jun 13, 2016 Nathan Titus rated it really liked it
A tale of can do attitude, of the adventurous spirit, of a curiosity that simply decides to go out and become satisfied. I like the way the author wove his own story with that of Morde, in whose footsteps he was following. All the building blocks are here.
what keeps this book from a 5 star rating is hard to pin down. The factual, newspaperman writing style? Perhaps partially but Kon Tiki had a similar drawback and managed to blow this book out of the water. Something here just seemed anticlimati
Jan C

Interesting story of a free-lance writer, published primarily (I think) with The New Yorker. Anyway, he found out that there was an explorer years ago who found a "lost city" (a/k/a white city) in the jungles of Honduras. He wants to go find it, too. He has this guy's diary. He knows a guy who knows his way around down there and gets him to accompany him. He has a wife and young child and yet he goes roaring off to the unknown jungle. And spends much of his time groaning to himself about wh
The front cover of Jungleland makes promises it fails to keep. The writing of the book is competent but falls short of “fascinating and gripping” which a book about jungle survival, let alone the discovery of lost cities, should be. WW II spy is given equal billing with mysterious lost city but is really just a footnote to the main adventure. It has nothing to do with the White City and the tail end of the book deals mainly in conjecture on the part of the author because, as he says, nothing is ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Pamela rated it it was ok
I am going to have to agree with most of the reviews here. I love stories about the jungle and adventures....but this falls short. although quick and entertaining enough, it was lacking.

His interweaving of the stories was nice and read well, but his side of the story was a bit too whiny. I know he confessed to not really liking camping and not being too outdoorsy, but at a certain point, when you've placed yourself in a situation, you need to accept the difficulties and grow with it. He never di
Courtney Hartley
I didn't realize this was going to basically be a story of a dude having a quarter life crisis and going on an adventure to find meaning or something. I didn't find either story particularly engaging, and I felt no empathy for the author and his struggles on the journey.
I went into it without any specific expectations, so it was weird to feel let down. I didn't expect them to find the Lost White City, because I figured it was like most lost cities and mostly a legend and whatnot, so even that w
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Christopher S. Stewart is an investigative reporter at the Wall Street Journal, where he won the Pulitzer Prize with several colleagues in 2015.

Stewart is the author of Hunting the Tiger, a book about Zeljko Arkan Raznatovic, the Serbian mobster and warlord at the center of the 1990s Balkan wars. Jungleland is his second book.

His work has also appeared in GQ, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine,
More about Christopher S. Stewart...

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“David Grann’s book The Lost City of Z), of the University of Florida,” 0 likes
“Frederick Mitchell-Hedges,” 0 likes
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