Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” as Want to Read:
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  30,417 ratings  ·  3,153 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

...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Vintage (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lost City of Z, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Lost City of Z

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kemper
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
...more
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
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...

description

A military m
...more
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
...more
Mara
Apr 16, 2014 Mara rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Trish
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
Sara
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
...more
Denise
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
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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.
Jeremy
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
Ryan
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
...more
Veeral
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
Christopher
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
...more
Michael
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
Patrick Gibson
Apr 12, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Deborah Edwards
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
Bruce
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
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I felt really sorry for these guys because they didn't have DEET! BUGSBUGSBUGSBUGSBUGS!!!! :>0
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne
On his first expeditions into the Amazon, in the days before airplanes or even radios, Percy Harrison Fawcett learned how to avoid poisonous frogs and venomous coral snakes. He also knew to stay away from a species of ant that could “reduce the men’s clothes and rucksacks to threads in a single night,” flesh-eating chiggers, parasitic worms, and a catalog of other bugs that could maim or kill. If the insects didn’t get you, malaria might, or the poisoned arrow of a hostile tribesman. Crossing ri ...more
Kim
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'
...more
El
I love a good yarn. I love those crazy stories about hidden treasures, travels to the ends of the earth, and driving obsessions - the more real they are, the better.

In the Twenties, explorer Percy Fawcett wandered into the jungles of the Amazon to find the Lost City of Z, aka the ancient civilization, El Dorado. He was obsessed with the concept of this hidden civilization, and spent years researching and studying before embarking on his journey. But what happened? We know that most of his team d
...more
Helen
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 .
...more
Vincent
So if ever there is a book that carefully and meticulously recreates history from old yellowed documents and history books, this is it. What Grann has done here is compile all sorts of collective wisdom and narrative about the ongoing search for a civilization that may have once existed in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Hard evidence is scarce so most of the exploration rests on theory and many of the great explorers who have gone into the amazon over the years searching out this missing c ...more
Linda

This is an amazing story, with many amazing, but horrifying human destinies, about the search for a mysterious, ancient city. The lost city of Z.

Spoiler's alert!

The problem with this book was that during the first half, I didn't really care for Fawsett and his son. It's because the book handles too many destinies. I was blinded by every disappearance, and it ceased to affect me the way I had expected. Unfortunately. The book gained some speed half way through, but I'm afraid it isn't enough to m
...more
Pamela ☼what?!? you want more gruel☼ Tee
Save you Christmas money for this one. It comes out in late Feb '09 and it's great.

------------------
yes, that's all I originally wrote. What the heck was I thinking :(
------------------here's what I wrote elsewhere

I rather imagine that "The Lost City of Z " is going to be in my Top 10 Reads of 2009. I say this because it's a book that has so much going for it: Adventure, Mystery, Tantalizing Facts... not to mention that it is well written.

The book is about Sir Percy Fawcett. A member of the Roy
...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
...more
Caroline
Here's how mind-blowing this book about Amazon exploration was: even though it's clearly marked as nonfiction, and meticulously end-noted, I kept going to Google to double-check facts, because the whole thing just SEEMS like a tall tale and/or a postmodern novel that's made to look like the story of an early twenty-first-century reporter retracing the steps of an early twentieth-century explorer. But, nope this whole thing is for real.

Ultimately, I'm conflicted about the book. As a ripping yarn,
...more
Nick
This is a great adventure story of an early 20th century Amazon explorer who mysteriously disappeared on one of his many sojouurns into the heart of Amazonia. Acutally, the area Percy Fawcett explored was south of the Amazon proper; mostly he explored in western Brazil near the Bolivian border, though he disappeared on a trek eastward from there. Lots of interesting sidelines are here, including his brother's, his wife's and his own interest in spiritualism, of the Madame Blavatsky sort. Also hi ...more
Eric
this is a fun read. the book straddles quite nicely that line between bookish and entertaining. the narrative is a little lop-sided. i think grann's own adventure pales in comparison, in terms of drama, but of course it's crucial to getting you the answers you are looking for -- namely, does z exist? and what happened to percy fawcett?

i think i most enjoyed the descriptions of the difficult nature of amazonian exploration. the bugs, the maggots, the disease, harsh nature of the terrain. grann b
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Wolverine Farm Pu...: The Lost City of Z 10 21 Feb 07, 2014 05:12PM  
Goodreads Pet Peeve 20 310 Apr 30, 2013 02:11PM  
  • Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
  • Exploration Fawcett
  • Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth
  • River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon
  • The Last Days of the Incas
  • Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
  • The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name
  • Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone
  • Brazilian Adventure
  • The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America's Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas
  • The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River
  • Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival
  • Travels in Siberia
  • The Race for Timbuktu: In Search of Africa's City of Gold
  • The Worst Journey in the World
  • God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
  • The Marsh Arabs
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
1431785
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
More about David Grann...
The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness & Obsession Un Crime Parfait Le Caméléon: les Multiples Vies de Frédéric Bourdin Trial By Fire: L'etat du Texas a-t-il exécuté un innocent? Chronique d'un meurtre annoncé (La très petite collection) (French Edition)

Share This Book

“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” 9 likes
“...much of the discovery of the world was based on failure rather than on success--on tactical errors and pipe dreams.” 6 likes
More quotes…