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The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  47,573 ratings  ·  5,012 reviews
A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world's densest jungle.

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tr
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Grand Central Publishing
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Diego 11 Days ago, you must have made up your mind by now right? I'm guessing that if you weren't thrilled by the beginning, it might be because there's no …more11 Days ago, you must have made up your mind by now right? I'm guessing that if you weren't thrilled by the beginning, it might be because there's no much personal interest invested on the topic. I'm a Honduran and a biologist, so I deeply enjoyed it, even his detours into tropical disease. If you're looking for big adventure or big discoveries, you'll find it lacking since the archaeological site has barely been scraped even as I write this. It'll be a couple of years until more scientific research gets done on the site, and most of what the author states about the city and its people are educated assumptions.(less)
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Greg Diane, well, the final chapters reveal why, exactly, this entire civilization simply disappeared. True, the first part of the book is very good: the h…moreDiane, well, the final chapters reveal why, exactly, this entire civilization simply disappeared. True, the first part of the book is very good: the history of the search, the finding, etc. But I liked that Preston went on with his explanation.(less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
”I peered out the window, transfixed. I can scarcely find words to describe the opulence of the rainforest that unrolled below us. The tree crowns were packed together like puffballs, displaying every possible hue, tint, and shade of green. Chartreuse, emerald, lime, aquamarine, teal, bottle, glaucous, asparagus, olive, celadon, jade, malachite--mere words are inadequate to express the chromatic infinites.”

 photo Hondurus20Jungle_zpsnmag5m6s.jpg

Douglas Preston was always interested in lost civilizations, so when he got the chance
Miranda Reads
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars!
People need history in order to know themselves, to build a sense of identity and pride, continuity, community, and hope for the future.
The White City (aka the Lost City of the Monkey God) was a legend...until now.

For the last 500 years, rumors have flooded every major news outlet.... only you be proven false - every single time.

However, with the invention of new technology and a dogged determination, several explorers, architects and writers (including the author) set off to disc
Fascinating and terrifying! A non-ficton story about pre-history, history, and the lessons it teaches us about our potential mortality. A cautionary tale that we may have no control over; the fate of ancient civilizations may hint at our eventual fate as well.

Doulas Preston always impresses. I am a huge fan of his fiction work (the Pendergast series with Lincoln Child) and his detailed, but not so much that it is inaccessible, non-fiction. Every time you enter either the real or made up world wi
Montzalee Wittmann
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story
Written by: Douglas Preston
Narrated by: Bill Mumy
This was such an exciting audible book and filled with rich history and science. Mr Preston starts the book with how he got started on this trip and all the investigations he had to do to get information on finding what he could. He explained many trips that were tried and failed. I find this all fascinating. This was NOT a fiction book. Then the trip they make to South America takes a tremendous effort
jv poore
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was about so much more than the Lost City--it was packed with information, presented in a palatable way and even tone.

I feel stupidly excited by how much I learned and how incredibly interested I was in absolutely every facet of this discovery and the ripple effect of the exploration itself.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Most of the events in this book happened relatively recently, and although it makes the book feel slightly more relevant, it also feels like the book was very hastily written - it's kind of a rambling mess.

This book is not really actually about the "Lost City of the Monkey God." It's more a journal about the experience of being a part of the mostly old white male team that basically had so much money/power/free time that they were able to "discover" previously unexplored settlements of a previo
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
My jungle terrors continue! This is the second book I've read this summer about how deadly the jungle can be, and if I read any more I'll need a Xanax.

The Lost City of the Monkey God is about an archaeological discovery in La Mosquitia in Honduras. Douglas Preston was reporting on the search for the ruins of an ancient civilization, nicknamed the White City, or the Lost City of the Monkey God. In 2015, researchers used technology called LIDAR to scan the interior, and when they found potential e
Dana Stabenow
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For centuries Hondurans have told their children the myth of the Lost City of the Monkey God, but myths are often rooted in fact, and in the early Oughts cinematographer and inveterate searcher for lost cities Steve Elkins starts looking for it. National Geographic/New Yorker writer and novelist Douglas Preston, in the way nosy journalists do, hears tell of this search and talks his way into the 2015 expedition. Preston begins his story with a briefing by an ex-soldier experienced in jungle trav ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

For centuries rumors swirled about an abandoned ancient settlement in the jungles of Honduras, a region called 'The White City of the Monkey God.' The remains of the White City was reputed to contain gold, priceless cultural artifacts, and the remnants of temples and buildings - a veritable cornucopia for treasure hunters, archaeologists, and anthropologists.

Sketch of the mythical Lost City of the Monkey God

Over the years many explorers tried to find the White City. Some never came ba
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
3.5 Stars
An interesting story of a lost age and an adventure that is informative and educational.

Douglas Preston's account of his adventure to La Mosquitia an unexplored, uninhabited region of forest in the Honduran wilderness in search of the Lost City of the Money Gods.
Since the days of conquistador Hernan Cortes, rumours have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribe's
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
As a longtime fan of the Pendergast series that Douglas Preston writes together with Lincoln Child was I curious to read this non-fiction book about a lost city. I find mysteries like this very intriguing. I mean a lost city that is mentioned in old documents, but no one has found? What's not to like? And, what makes this book so fantastic is that Douglas Preston himself was part of the expedition to what could be White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. A place where no one has been for c ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
In The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston presents an engaging account of an expedition setting out to (re)discover a lost city in the jungles of Honduras (the White City or City of the Monkey God). Preston begins by offering historical research of an earlier search for the city which, despite the hype, probably never located the city and might not have even been looking for it. However, comparing his expedition with the one 80 or so years earlier allows him to discuss scientific advan ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best non fiction adventure books I ever came across. Douglas Preston directly leads you into the jungle of Honduras to discover this legendary lost city of the monkey god. He talks about previous expeditions and brings in all the historical background needed. Reading this book is like accompanying the author and his team in an area that's absolutely hostile and dangerous to man. At the final section of the book you come across many fascinating photos too. I feel very exhauste ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the best books I read in 2017. This is an incredibly fascinating and detailed book involving science, history, and adventure. Highly recommended.
The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Who knew that there were so many civilizations in the Northern Hemisphere, The Lost City of the Monkey God takes us deep into the Mosquitia region of the Gracias a Dios Department in eastern Honduras, where the legendary "White City" supposedly existed.

The first third of the book tells how documentary filmmakers Steve Elkins and Bill Benenson have spent 20+ years searching for the "White City". using a million-dollar lidar scanner, they were able to fly over the valley, probing the jungle cano
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was expecting a non-fiction adventure story told by one of my favorite thriller authors, but this book really covers a lot more territory than that. In the La Mosquitia region of Honduras, there was rumored to be a lost city where people once worshipped a monkey like statue. There were also rumors about the unfortunate fate that would befall people who went looking for this city. The beginning of this book describes a lot of failed and fraudulent expeditions searching for the city. It was supp ...more
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story is not my normal cuppa, but came to me highly recommended. I'm glad that I reserved the audio at my library.

I enjoyed this story, but was slightly disappointed at the time spent actually exploring. The beginning of the book goes into previous expeditions to areas near this city and the problems faced due to the fact that Honduras can be a very dangerous country. Not only due to the insects, snakes and other poisonous creatures, but also because of
Justin Tate
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, well this had a little bit of everything! Archeological adventure story, ancient culture history, Honduras politics, revelations about lesser-known diseases and more. Loved it from beginning to end.
Woman Reading
The White City, the City of the Monkey God, Kaha Kamasa -

There was once a great city in the mountains struck down by a series of catastrophes,
after which the people decided that the gods were angry and left, leaving behind their possessions.
Thereafter it was shunned as a cursed place,
forbidden, visiting death on those who dared enter.

This description evoked the retro adventures of Indiana Jones. I had listened to the audiobook, and the narrator tried to foster that essence with a slightly breat
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

It's no secret that I love Douglas Preston. I've read (and reread) his co-authored Special Agent Pendergast series multiple times. I've worked with the publishers for the past few years for ARCs of that series and interviewed Mr. Preston and Lincoln Child, his Pendergast co-author. I've read pretty much everything they've both ever written, with a few things still remaining on my to-read p
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For centuries, since the days of Hernán Cortés in the 1500's, rumors abounded regarding a lost city in Honduras called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. It was reputed to be a city of immense wealth. Indigenous tribes warned that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. There have been many stories about sightings of this lost city. Some of these outright hoaxes. None have proven it's existence. In the twentieth century there were several expeditions to locate t ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
Rumors of ancient lost cities awaken in us dreams of making great archeological discoveries and finding buried treasure, but as is so often the case, these are only to be achieved by most of us through a vicarious armchair adventure like this one!

In this true story, author Douglas Preston takes us along on his journey deep into the heart of the rainforest in Honduras, as a team of scientists, filmmakers, hired guards, soldiers and others try to find traces of the fabled White City aka the Lost
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Fascinating, sobering, and mind-blowing. As noted before, I don’t always do nonfiction, but when I do, it’s the good stuff.

Devotees of Jon Krakauer, Erik Larson, Candace Millard, and Laura Hillenbrand, this archeology-centered story is right up your alley as it forks, then branches into weird caves of thought you won’t entirely expect. Yes, we start with a jungle expedition that is thwarted, then attempted again. We get snarling insults about colonial arrogance and disregard for native peoples.
Takeaway: White people are an insensitive, self-aggrandizing, entitled lot, especially the American male ones. And that's how they got a curse.

Note: The reader/listener is repeatedly told that archeology and paleontology are not


and definitely not

This story has a tinylittlebit of

(Theme song can be found here, in case you also loved singing that at the top of your voice when you were a hopelessly overwrought tween)
Though, honestly, all the machete-whacking around in the jungle
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

My friend Barbara recommended this book to me, so really how could I refuse? Especially once I found out that much of the action takes place in Honduras, a country that I have been interested in visiting for several years. Why? The Lovely Cotinga, that's why (have a look at

But I think I may be cured of that desire now. You see, in addition to the anthropological research and the jungle exploration (poisonous snakes, hip deep mud, and unremitting
L.A. Starks
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Koivu
One-part adventure and one-part cautionary tale, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the story of the search for a long-lost pre-Columbian city in Honduras. History and science combine to unearth the ruins, as well as "the curse" so often associated with tampering with ancient Central American ruins: disease. Exciting and terrifying for so many reasons. ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Most fun fact: North America has bananas because Jules Verne mentioned them in a book.

This is an all encompassing story of a modern archeological discovery, from the first idea of the possibility to the remarkable results. It looks at history, modern technology, snakes, jungle, bugs, artifacts, and dangers of exploration.
The last section on disease was most interesting.

I'm a sucker for stories of archeological finds & discoveries therein. Medical history is also fascinating. This book covers
3.5 stars.

THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD: A True Story, by Douglas Preston is a nonfiction account of an expedition to the deepest jungles of Honduras, in an attempt to find the legendary "White City", or "The Lost City of the Monkey God".

I am familiar with this author through his fictional works mainly, including his collaborative efforts with Lincoln Child. If anyone could make a true story of this incredible find come alive on the pages, it is Douglas Preston. The author, personally, went on
Tanja Berg
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: wanna-be jungle explorers, as deterrent
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the first non-fiction book I have read by Douglas Preston. He is an "unreliable" author in that he has written some books that I have truly enjoyed ("Jennie") and some books that have been among the worst I have ever read ("Tyrannosaur Canyon"). This being non-fiction and the concept - looking for a lost civilization in the jungle - fascinating.

I wasn't disappointed. The book starts off describing the many dangers of jungle explorations: insect-born parasites and snakes in endless varia
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Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished career at a private nursery school--he was almost immediately expelled--he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston. Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two fr ...more

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“People need history in order to know themselves, to build a sense of identity and pride, continuity, community, and hope for the future.” 11 likes
“I would ask the reader to pause for a moment and ponder the statistics. Statistics are mere numbers; they need to be translated into human experience. What would a 90 percent mortality rate mean to the survivors and their society? The Black Death in Europe at its worst carried off 30 to 60 percent of the population. That was devastating enough. But the mortality rate wasn’t high enough to destroy European civilization. A 90 percent mortality rate is high enough: It does not just kill people; it annihilates societies; it destroys languages, religions, histories, and cultures. It chokes off the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next. The survivors are deprived of that vital human connection to their past; they are robbed of their stories, their music and dance, their spiritual practices and beliefs—they are stripped of their very identity.” 9 likes
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