The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

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The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

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He knows how to weave a yarn and draw the reader in; I was captivated by this story of one man’s obsession with finding the lost city of Z. Author David Grann juggles these stories well, never dropping the main story, at least no more than necessary to incorporate the interesting details from these off-shoot tales that help the reader to better understand the mindset of the times or to underscore the perils of such treks into the unknown. Over the decades after their disappearance, several teams and even individuals ventured into the dense jungle to find the famed explorer. Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about "Z" –became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness.

A fascinating, fun read that probably would have been a bit more riveting if I hadn't read The River of Doubt quite so recently. The earliest conquistadors left records of their glimpses of this civilization, but by the time they tried to explore the rainforest again, the indigenous people were all but gone. Decades after his final dispatch from the jungle, Fawcett’s wife and remaining family (he took his teenage son Jack with him) continued to believe that one day he would emerge from the jungle with a tale so epic that only Homer could tell it properly. Grann paints a vivid picture of the final days of trail-blazing, Earth-bound grand exploration, before airplanes and radios began stripping the mystery from the unknown parts of the world. On the ugly side, he had little empathy for anyone in his party who could not keep up with his pace, and he neglected his family.The settlements and civilization of these people appeared to have lasted long enough for them to have had contact with Europeans.

David Grann’s Lost City of Z is a deeply satisfying revelation—a look into the life and times of one of the last great territorial explorers, P. I can navigate the river without coming down with some hideous infection or being drained dry by a vampire bat because my arm flopped outside the netting in the middle of the night or feel the sting of a poisonous arrow puncturing my neck. The character of Fawcett unfurled as the book progressed from perfect English gentleman, a fearless army colonel to an accomplished explorer but so obsessed with his cause that it rendered him bankrupt during his last days. However, after disappearing into the jungle one last time, with his son and a friend in-tow on this occasion, Fawcett disappeared forever. Grann currently lives in New York with his wife Kyra Darnton, a television producer, and their two children.There was one description that made me shiver: ”Espundia, an illness with even more frightening symptoms. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Sometimes, you got to care more for your loved ones than the general welfare, even if you’re accused of avarice.

Well you've got your classics- poisonous snakes, jaguars, and crocodiles ( "aka the world's most deadliest predators"- Archer's words, not Grann's). That book, referenced here only at page 284, is apparently Charles Mann's 1491 and one which I look forward to reading at some point. Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish. Few things are better than experiencing a horrendous adventure from the comfort of your own armchair. It] has everything to fire the imagination: Romance, nostalgia, bravery, monomania, hardship, adventure, science, tragedy, mystery.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). Colonel during World War I, and his dealing with spiritualists, including the controversial Madame Blavatsky. But pessimists have convinced the best of us that being an explorer sounds much better in the pages, for struggling to survive inside a forest with the probability of being jeopardized almost tending to one, isn’t really something most of us “civilians” will crave for.

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