Tag: Percy Fawcett

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

Posted August 16, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 2 Comments

The Lost City of Z by David GrannTitle: The Lost City of Z (Goodreads)
Author: David Grann
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2009
Pages: 351
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Lost City of Z tells the story of Percy Fawcett, a legendary British explorer who disappeared in 1925 along with his son looking for an ancient lost city in the Amazon. For decades explorers, archaeologists and scientists have tried to find any evidence of this lost city of El Dorado which Fawcett has called Z. it is believed that over 100 people have perished or disappeared in this search in David Grann explores this topic in the book The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.

While my wife was away in Chile and Brazil I thought I would read a book set in that continent so after a bit of research and cross checking with what my library had I decided on David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. Maybe not the best book to read while she was away but I want to read more non-fiction and this sounded really interesting. For centuries Europeans believed the Amazon concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado and they obsessed with it. Those who did go searching for El Dorado often disappeared or died. The mysteries of the Amazon remained mysteries because the explorers didn’t understand what was in the uncharted jungles of Brazil.

Percy Fawcett has been referred to as a “Nietzschean explorer” spouting “eugenic gibberish” so it was interesting to read about his obsession with finding this lost city as well as everyone else who were determined to find El Dorado. Exploring an unknown jungle without any idea of what dangerous plants, animals and maybe tribes you find doesn’t sound like a great adventure to me but it was interesting to read about mysteries surrounding these quests. For me this book makes the Amazon sound really dangerous; many disappearing or dying and some even going insane but I was fascinated by the book and enjoyed reading it (even though my wife was in Brazil at the time).

I’m never really sure how to write a review for a non-fiction book but I hope I gave you enough information and expressed my thoughts well enough for this book. I think David Grann wrote this book in a really accessible way but at times I felt like he idolised Percy Fawcett; like he was enlightened where others call him a Nietzschean explorer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. A book that took me out of my comfort zone and I’m thankful for that. The book gets bonus points for referencing and endnotes; I might not have used them but I respect a non-fiction book more if it offers me references to back up what it is saying.