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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  45,157 Ratings  ·  4,167 Reviews
A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries,
Paperback, Vintage Departures edition, 400 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2009)
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Feb 09, 2010 Kemper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
We’ve all been wrong on this whole rainforest issue. We don’t need to SAVE the rainforest. We need to DESTROY the rainforest. Immediately.

I knew that the Amazon was a hostile environment, but I was really shocked at the variety of horrific ways that the jungle will kill a person. You’ve got your standard malaria and yellow fever. Then there’s the piranha, the electric eels, the anacondas, the coral snakes or the poisonous toads that are so toxic that one of them could kill a hundred people. Sti
Will Byrnes
Be careful when you pick this book up. You won’t want to put it down. In 1925, Percy Harrison Fawcett, armed with information only he had unearthed, accompanied by his son, his son’s best friend and a small company of bearers and support personnel, headed off into the Amazonian wilderness in search of a large, ancient, fabled city, the City of Z. Fawcett, his son, Jack, and Jack’s friend, Raleigh, were never seen again. There were many attempts by later explorers of varying levels of expertise t ...more
Jason Koivu
May 29, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will make you feel like a kid again! It will ignite a Jonny Quest kind of desire for adventure, to dive into the jungle in search of lost worlds.

This will also quench most desires to ever take one step closer to a jungle.

"Z" is supposedly a long lost South American city of a once powerful people. Think El Dorado. Did it ever really exist? Finding out was the self-imposed task of an almost legend of a man who lives up to the myth:

Famous British explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett...


A military m
Nancy Oakes
I picked up this book and was immediately lost between the covers and could not stop reading until I had finished the entire thing. That's how good this book is.

The author sets forth the story of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British explorer who in 1925 set out on an expedition to the Amazon to find what he had named the "lost city of Z." He was convinced that an ancient and "highly cultured" people lived in the Amazon of Brazil, untouched by modern civilization, and that they lived in a gr
Apr 21, 2011 Denise rated it it was ok
Incredible reviews, national best seller, interesting subject matter, well written, extensively researched and yet it did nothing for me. EPIC FAIL. Not sure why but I had a hard time getting through it without falling asleep every other page. Too many details, too many names, too many stories, too much repetition (I get it, the AMAZON is incredibly dangerous). The first half just dragged and dragged. I am glad that I made myself finish it otherwise I would have nothing positive to say. I will a ...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
I wish this book would have been fiction so the reader would find out the ending. It seems to me that the story begins over and over but there is no closure.
Richard Derus
Oct 26, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

Real-life Indiana Jones doesn't come back from this one.

2017 Movie News: Go watch the trailer for this Amazon Studios film. I'll wait. Okay, now go read the Rotten Tomatoes aggregation. Won't take long.

Now. A four-plus star book review from me and a host of other sources, agreement among critics from Den of Geek all the way to The Nation, and a cast of pretty, pretty the fact that
Mar 27, 2012 Mara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for reasons to avoid jungle expeditions.
Recommended to Mara by: Kemper
You can see how someone, perhaps someone who goes by the alias of Kemper, would read this book and come to the conclusion that we need to destroy the rainforest immediately (see review and comments that follow for a glimpse at the behaviors of peoples who have never before come into contact with sarcasm).

Seriously though, as noted in my review of Candice Millard's The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, and further evidenced in reading this tale, the jungle is a punishing, dan
What a great read. For really the first time I understood the fascination with the phrase 'armchair traveller.' In other circumstances, I always thought it was somewhat absurd to think that reading about a thing was as fun as doing it. In this case, it was a lot more fun to read about it than to do it. Pit vipers, swarms of biting insects, interminable wet, death by maggots...and in all of it, a frustrating mystery. At its heart, this is a story of the search for a magnificent civilization in th ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lost City of Z by David Grann is exceptional book that I can altogether recommend to every variety of reader. This well-rendered and deeply researched biography of Percy Fawcett, centers on his all consuming obsession with the Lost City of Z (evidence of a great but forgotten jungle civilization), the international fever that follows his mysterious disappearance and some of the more exciting tidbits of Grann’s journey to piece together Fawcett’s tale.

The book is unrelenting in its portraya
Jun 20, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The jungle is super scary ya'll. I havent had this many gross out moments since i read "The Illustrated History of Cannibalism." So there is no way you will get to the end of this book without being wildly impressed at the abilities of PJ Fawcett and what he was able to do and when he did it. No radios, violent (rightfully so, btw) Indians, no modern medicine, and yet he helped mapped thousands of miles never mapped before in the middle of a jungle.

Likewise you will be equally disgusted to learn
Excellent engaging read of a quest of a quest. Grann, a non-athletic journalist in New York, becomes obsessed with the obsession of an early 20th century British explorer, James Fawcett, with the uncharted areas of the Amazon near the boundaries of Bolivia and Brazil. His fame for several expeditions between 1905 and 1915 skyrocketed to nearly Airhart proportions when he disappeared with his son and his friend on a 1925 journey into the vast Mato Grosso wilderness of Brazil in search the ruins o ...more
Don't you think the magic is gone from this world? There's nothing left to explore or discover. And if I were to pack a backpack and trek off into the Amazon rain forest in search of a city made of gold and possibly the fountain of youth, you'd institutionalize me.

But not Percy (F'ing) Fawcett, the guy whose mustache and zeal for adventure more than makes up for his sissy first name.

He's the real-life Indiana Jones. A treasure hunter, not an archaeologist (and by the way, it's clear to me now t
Apr 03, 2011 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is kind of an odd accomplishment: an adventure book that will make you really really glad your not an adventurer. Grann's descriptions of Fawcett et al trampling through the amazonian rainforest with their crass, (often racist) imperialist delusions of grandeur and discovery are often gut-wrenching. Skin peels off in sheets, everyone gets malaria, parasites, maggot infections (shudder), gangrene, etc. Trekking through unspoiled tropical jungles is utterly horrifying, you basically just turn ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most dangerous moment in my highly amateurish hiking career was when I fell a little behind my friends and then fell off a mountain path. Fortunately, I was holding a rope and did not roll down the cliff into the rocks below. Unfortunately, my friends couldn't hear me screaming for help. I held on tight, calmed myself, and climbed back on to the path.

It scared the living daylights out of my mom when I told her, even though I was clearly still alive as I told the story.

So you can bet that my
João Carlos

Percy Harrison Fawcett (1867 – 1925?)

Books To Read Before The Movie Comes Out (Rest of 2016/Early 2017)

O subtítulo ”Uma História de Obsessão Mortal Passada na Amazónia” conjuga e sintetiza de uma forma primorosa a temática do livro de David Grann (n. 1967) ”A Cidade Perdida de Z”.
”A Cidade Perdida de Z” é um livro de não-ficção – lê-se como um romance de aventuras – que se centra na vida do explorador inglês Percy Harrison Fawcett (1867 – 1925?) e na região da Amazónia.
A Amazónia permanece com
Oct 07, 2009 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars is probably generous. The rating stems from having known but little about the Amazon rainforest from an experiential point of view. Had I even taken more than a few trips to the National Zoo's only-slightly-muggy version largely without free-roaming pestilence, my rating would probably have been lower. So expectations and foreknowledge are everything here. The more you already know about what a godforsaken wasteland the Amazon is (from a nontropical, industrialized, rocking-chair, arti ...more
That obnoxious Amazon. It likes to monopolize and dominate the jungle. Although one might be led to believe that there would be an abundance of everything where such a mighty force exists, the truth is exactly the opposite. As David Grann puts it himself: It’s the great “counterfeit paradise”. I couldn’t agree more. Amazon will starve you. Amazon will desiccate you. And finally, Amazon will obliterate you. Because, simply put, Amazon doesn’t care for you. It’s a green desert. Unfit for human civ ...more
Mar 01, 2017 Melanie rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-i-own
3*. Well that was interesting! For most of the book I thought Percy Fawcett (the explorer whom the book is about) was probably a complete wack-a-doodle. At the end of the book, maybe only partially a wack-a-doodle but you do have to be somewhat obsessed to keep going back into that environment looking for a fabled "Lost City". I cannot fathom trekking into the Amazon jungle in our times with modern technology let alone in the 1920's when Fawcett did it. It is not a place I would ever desire to e ...more
Dave Cullen
May 07, 2015 Dave Cullen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. This is a new classic of the narrative nonfiction genre.

The prose is vivid and intoxicating, and he weaves together 2+ threads, seamlessly--with the Fawcett thread dominant, as it should be, yet given fresh life with the mingling of the contemporary thread.

I was drawn in from the start, but oddly enough, I REALLY got fascinated when he got to the developing field of cultural anthropology, and the fights over whether the people in the Amazon were "noble savages" or just "savages," or s
I read this book to build anticipation for an upcoming trip to Colombia. Little did I know, it is NOT that kind of book. Grann's descriptions of all the horrible ways the Amazon can invade the body make me never want to stand in a forest again. However, the book did end on a good note: in awe of the great unknown civilizations that not only survive but thrived in the Amazon. I also found Grann's portrayal of the individuals that journeyed into the Amazon (and the people they left behind) interes ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I felt really sorry for these guys because they didn't have DEET! BUGSBUGSBUGSBUGSBUGS!!!! :>0
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Deborah Edwards
Jan 04, 2010 Deborah Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you remember the first time you saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark?" Because I do. I remember it, because at first I didn't want to see it. The name sounded silly, and I didn't know what it was about. To my little girl mentality, it sounded like a "boy movie." But my little friends dragged me in by majority vote, and I emerged from the theater two hours later exhilarated, endlessly curious about early human cultures and determined to live a more exciting life. Years later, I stood in the middle of ...more
Patrick Gibson
Mar 28, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with an interest in archaeology and adventure
Recommended to Patrick by: thank you Steven Colbert
This author was on the Colbert show a few nights ago. Even though Steven wouldn’t give the poor guy a chance to talk, the story seemed right up my alley so I picked up the book the next day. Isn’t that why authors appear on talk shows, so that numb-nuts like me will rush to Borders?

Percy Harrison Fawcett was the real-life explorer whose adventures Arthur Conan Doyle drew upon for his 1912 novel ‘The Lost Word.’ While Fawcett did not find a South American plateau populated with dinosaurs, he did
May 05, 2016 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An explorer enters the Amazon jungle in search of a lost civilization: It's not an Indiana Jones movie but instead a true story about explorer Percy Fawcett who disappeared in 1925 while hunting for the "forbidden city" which he nicknamed "Z." Tragically, Fawcett never found Z...or did he? Legend has it Fawcett was killed or captured by hostile tribes, starved to death, or perhaps as some fringe groups believe he transcended mortality when he found and entered the lost city of Z. Journalist Davi ...more
La Petite Américaine
This is the kind of book everyone needs.

I don't know about you, but when I lived in New York, my life WAS my office job. That is, talking about sales forecasts, writing up spread sheets and cursing Excel when I couldn't copy/paste from one cell to another, and being encouraged to think of ways I could improve the company while knowing I could be laid off at any minute. All so common, and all such a snore. Now, even my exciting life in Italy is still tedious at times, albeit for different reasons
I love travel and adventure and ancient civiliations so a real-life journey is a must-read for me. It is amazing how many people had invested time, money and, in some cases, their lives to search for a group that people said shouldn't have gone in the first place. Maybe if those people had helped fund the expedition they wouldn't have gone missing. Or as some conspiracies say maybe he wanted to go missing.

But there's a part of me that would have also wanted to rush out looking for him. And that'
Jan 18, 2010 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book is about the explorer Fawcett's quest for the lost city of El Dorado, called "Z" in the Amazon.

Because no one really and truly knows what DID happen to Fawcett and his son in their last Amazon region in 1925, a large amount of the book is filler. Fawcett's British colonial background, his early years, other explorations, his family, his involvement in the Royal Geographical Society and the colonial and imperialist mix that was current in the late 19th and early 20th century in England .
Aug 19, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Seriously How is this real??
So nobody will ever find out what really happened to the Colonel ??
the last 2 chapters, specially when some tribe members started reporting their encounter with the group.....Simply Chilling!!

I Love such mysteries. They just get lodged in the back of your mind cause there are no answers.
I Hope the movie is just as good.
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David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. He has written about everything from New York City’s antiquated water tunnels to the hunt for the giant squid to the presidential campaign.
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, published by Doubleday, is Grann’s first book and is being developed into a movie by Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company and Paramount Pic
More about David Grann...

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“Years later, another member [of the Royal Geographical Society] conceded, "Explorers are not, perhaps, the most promising people with whom to build a society. Indeed, some might say that explorers become explorers precisely because they have a streak of unsociability and a need to remove themselves at regular intervals as far as possible from their fellow men.” 11 likes
“Does God think that, because it is raining, I am not going to destroy the world? - Lope de Aguirre after going mad in the Amazon” 11 likes
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