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 The Lost City of Z by David Grann

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Join date : 2008-10-22
Age : 50
Location : Geneva, Illinois

PostSubject: The Lost City of Z by David Grann   Sat 14 Mar 2009, 8:38 pm

At #4 on the hardcover non fiction list for this week at the New York Times, I am going to read The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.

I am huge "true adventure story" geek, but surprisingly, it's hard to find ones that are really good and exciting. I've realized it's the rare author who can bring it all to vivid and death-defying life. Some of my favorites in this genre have been The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk, by Jennifer Niven, Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King and most recently (as in finished it yesterday for an advanced reader program I belong to) A Wall of White: The True Story of Heroism and Survival in the Face of a Deadly Avalanche by Jennifer Woodlief (I was actually gritting my teeth during this one). They were all awesome, stay up all night, intense reads. You have to like that kind of thing though.

So from the Canadian Arctic, then to the West Africa's coastline along the Saraha Desert; and most recently, the unbelievable force of nature that is avalanche territory in North Lake Tahoe ... I go to the Amazon somewhere between Bolivia and Peru circa 1925 ...



Again, I did not read too much about this one because I'm not familiar with the story, the explorer (Percy Fawcett) or the adventure, so I want to be surprised. But all the reviews are excellent so far.

Okay, off to experience a horrendous adventure from the comfort of my couch, near the fireplace and my happy, lazy dog ...

Review to follow.

Carolyn
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PostSubject: Review of The Lost City of Z by David Grann   Thu 19 Mar 2009, 6:19 pm

Review of The Lost City of Z by David Grann

This is a truly fascinating book generally centered around the people of the Amazon, past and present. Also, it tells the tale of the mystery of Percy Fawcett, a gentleman English explorer, who disappeared during his seventh journey to the Amazon, in 1925, to attempt to uncover the "Lost City of Z" (what he ardently believed was a very advanced, ancient, civilization and lost city - also sometimes referred to as El Dorado). The author takes us through Fawcett's history as well as the history of various regions in the Amazon. Fawcett is an amazing man; and the Amazon an amazing place. From the flesh-eating insects to the minute spiked catfish that burrow in human orifices to the tribes so frustrated with the destruction from the "white man" they shoot to kill upon first contact ~ we learn of the varied and absolutely astounding region. Grann does a great job with all the research of exploration which covers almost a century of time; and he is a fine journalistic writer. The final chapter, which sheds light on what "the City of Z" most likely is was groundbreaking. Although Fawcett was often put down as a crazy fanatic, this book shows how deadly accurate he was in his journies and discoveries. He was sensitive, intelligent and capable so incredibly ahead of his time. He was accomplishing in the 1910s-20s what scientists are now, with the full breadth of technology then unavailable.

My only complaints are that I found the author's personal journey misplaced (and not that interesting and kind of whiny); and the book gets very tangential and splintered in places as if he's trying to spread the material more widely. But overall I highly recommend this book if you have any interest in the Amazon, its people or just the amazing (and sadly, disappearing) wonder that it is.

4 out of 5 stars

Carolyn
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