99. The Lost City of Z (David Grann)

Monday, April 05, 2010
The Lost City of Z is the true tale of Percy H. Fawcett, an English explorer and adventurer who was obsessed with finding an undiscovered civilization in the heart of the Amazon. In 1925, Col. Fawcett entered the jungle with his son and a friend, intent on finding the mysterious, undiscovered city of Z, and disappeared forever.

Author David Grann alternates Fawcett's tale along with his own research and preparations to follow in the explorer's footsteps. The result is an exciting literary romp through the rainforests of South America. However, unlike most adventure novels and films, Grann drags the reader into the muck along with Fawcett and his party - coated in bugs which bite, suck, and burrow under the skin, starvation, hostile native tribes and a jungle so thick you can barely see beyond the next tree.

Z was an eye opener for me - I had never heard of Fawcett or of the recent discoveries made by archaeologists like Michael Heckenberger. But then again, South American archaeology was never my area of interest. It's intriguing to think that Fawcett may actually have been right (at least partially) and even walked across the spot where the city he referred to as "Z" may have existed. While Grann's intention may have been to finally put an end to the mystery surrounding Col. Fawcett's disappearance (the oral tradition provided by the K Indians is probably the closest anyone will ever get), I found his book far too exciting and have a feeling others will continue to try to solve the mystery.

According to Wikipedia and to IMDb.com, Brad Pitt's company has obtained the rights to the book and will be making a film version of the book. No surprise, Pitt will be playing the English adventurer. I'm curious to see how it turns out.

A definate recommended read.


mister anchovy said...

Have you ever read One River by Wade Davis? It's kind of a true life adventure book, part ethno-botany book and part biography. I think it's a book you'd really like.

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