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The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z

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Add This - The Lost City of Z

Written by David GrannAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by David Grann

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 448 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: January 26, 2010
  • Price: $16.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-4000-7845-5 (1-4000-7845-8)
about this book

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions helped inspire Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions around the globe, Fawcett embarked with his twenty-one-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization—which he dubbed “Z”—existed. Then he and his expedition vanished.

Fawcett’s fate—and the tantalizing clues he left behind about “Z”—became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists and adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes, or gone mad. As David Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s “green hell.” His quest for the truth and his stunning discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and “Z” form the heart of this complex, enthralling narrative.
“Suspenseful. . . . Rollicking. . . . Reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller. . . . The Lost City of Z is at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd. Mr. Grann treats us to a harrowing reconstruction of Fawcett’s forays into the Amazonian jungle, as well as an evocative rendering of the vanished age of exploration.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Breathtaking. . . . Grann brings Fawcett’s remarkable story to a beautifully written, perfectly paced fruition. . . . Any writer who can breathe life into letters written by scientists in the early 1900s deserves more than a hat tip.”
The Los Angeles Times

“Brilliant. . . . Impressively researched and skillfully crafted. . . . Grann makes abundantly clear in this fascinating, epic story of exploration and obsession, [that] the lethal attraction of the Amazon mystery remains strong.”—The Boston Globe

“A smart biographical page-turner.” —USA Today

“Grann escapes death and tracks down Z, giving the reader the kind of Indiana Jones kicks best experienced vicariously.” —Details

“A riveting, exciting and thoroughly compelling tale of adventure.” —John Grisham

“Thoroughly researched, vividly told. . . . Grann recounts Fawcett’s expeditions with all the pace of a white-knuckle adventure story. . . . A thrill ride from start to finish.” —The Washington Post

“The story of Z goes to the heart of the central questions of our age. In the battle between man and a hostile environment, who wins? A fascinating and brilliant book.” —Malcolm Gladwell

“A spellbinding tale that produces fresh surprises around each turn. . . . An amazing story.” —Dallas Morning News

“A fascinating yarn that touches on science, history, and some truly obsessive personalities.” —Entertainment Weekly

“There is something about Fawcett’s spirit and self-assurance that captivates. . . . To read The Lost City of Z is to feel grateful that Grann himself bothered to set out for the Amazon in search of the bones of an explorer whose body was long ago reclaimed by the jungle.” —Christian Science Monitor

“In a hyperconnected and exhaustively charted world, here is a revelation about wildness and the mad desire to plunge into it. . . . Unfathomably riveting. . . . Grann wildly delivers the goods.” —GQ

“A blockbuster tale of adventure.” —New York Observer

“Marvelous. . . . [Grann] combines a colorful narrative of Fawcett’s early life, military career, jungle treks, theories and even conversations with a biography of an extraordinary man and an overview of the last great and highly competitive age of exploration.” —Bloomberg News

“A blood-stirring reading experience.” —The Denver Post


“What makes Mr. Grann’s telling of the story so captivating is that he decides not simply to go off in search of yet more relics of our absent hero—but to go off himself in search of the city that Fawcett was looking for so heroically when he suddenly went AWOL.” —Simon Winchester, The Wall Street Journal

“Fast-paced adventure. . . . Grann delights us with the lure of obsession under a canopy of trees.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Absorbing and fair-minded. . . . In restoring a life that history has swallowed from general view, and vindicating a crackpot theory, Mr. Grann has also exposed the toll that explorers often took on those who loved or depended on them.” —Richard B. Woodward, The New York Times

“An engrossing book, whose protagonist could outmarch Lara Croft and out-think Indiana Jones. . . . It’s almost enough to make you reach for a backpack.” —The Daily Telegraph (London)

“A riveting adventure-mystery in the tradition of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, said to be inspired by Fawcett.” —The Toronto Star

“Perfect for armchair travelers and readers with fond childhood memories of books recounting tales of adventure in the dark wild. . . . What [Grann] found should help change how we think about the Amazon. . . . Read it, shiver with delight and thank your lucky stars you’re never going to get as close to a candirú as Fawcett and Grann did. (Look it up on Wikipedia, if you dare.)” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Thrilling. . . . What a story. . . . The beauty is that as incredible as it is, it’s true.”
Daily News

“Outstanding. . . . A powerful narrative, stiff lipped and Victorian at the center, trippy at the edges, as if one of those stern men of Conrad had found himself trapped in a novel by García Márquez.” —Rich Cohen, The New York Times Book Review

“Did Grann find the lost city? . . . It’s worth reading every page of this marvelous book to find out.” —Houston Chronicle

“Grann is no hard-as-nails explorer, and his self-deprecating personal narrative . . . serves as a comic counterpoint to the superhuman exploits of Fawcett. Grann may not be able to hack the wilderness very well, but as a storyteller he’s first-rate.” —Outside

“Grann has an extraordinary sense of pacing, and his scenes of forest adventure are dispatched in passages of swift, arresting simplicity. . . . A splendid, suspenseful book.” —Bookforum

“With this riveting work, David Grann emerges on our national landscape as a major new talent. His superb writing style, his skills as a reporter, his masterful use of historical and scientific documents, and his stunning storytelling ability are on full display here, producing an endlessly absorbing tale about a magical subject that captivates from start to finish. This is a terrific book.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin

“A thrilling yarn. . . . What [Grann] finds is what makes The Lost City of Z so gratifying, and in the end he, and we along with him, find ourselves stunned by what Percy Fawcett discovered.” —The Oregonian

“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.” —The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)

“Meticulously researched and spellbinding. . . . Reads like a cross between an Indiana Jones adventure and a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. . . . Gripping.” —The Ottawa Citizen

“Irresistible. . . . At once a biography of Fawcett, a history of the era of exploration, a science book on the nature and ethnography of the Amazon and a thrilling armchair adventure. . . . [It] has everything to fire the imagination: Romance, nostalgia, bravery, monomania, hardship, adventure, science, tragedy, mystery.” —South Florida Sun Sentinel

The Lost City of Z is meticulously researched, riveting and horrifying, guided by a core mystery that seems unimaginable and an author driven into the depths of the jungle by his daring to imagine it.” —Philadelphia City Paper

“Absorbing. . . . A wonderful story of a lost age of heroic exploration.” —The Sunday Times (London)

“Tantalizing. . . . Grann gives us a glimpse of the vanished age of exploration [as well as] a suspenseful, often very funny account of his own trek as a complete amateur into the ‘green hell’ of the Amazon. . . . Immensely entertaining.” —The Gazette (Montreal)

“Thankfully, for those of us who secretly live and breath for the swashbuckling adventure tale, every now and then a book comes along that renews our faith in the epic quest narrative, its ability to inform and enlighten even as it feeds our most primal need for dramatic amusement. [The Lost City of Z] succeeds tremendously in these pursuits.” —The Globe and Mail (Canada)

“David Grann’s The 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. H. Fawcett, and his search for a lost city in the Amazon. I mean, what could be better—obsession, mystery, deadly insects, shrunken heads, suppurating wounds, hostile tribesmen—all for us to savor in our homes, safely before the fire.” —Erik Larson, author of Thunderstruck, Devil in the White City and Isaac’s Storm

“Few things are better than experiencing a horrendous adventure from the comfort of your own armchair. Hordes of mosquitoes, poison-arrow attacks, bizarre and fatal diseases, spies in starched collars, hidden outposts of Atlantis—what's not to like? The Lost City of Z is like a wonderful nineteenth-century tale of exotic danger—except that David Grann's book is also a sensitively written biographical detective story, a vest-pocket history of exploration, and a guide to the new archaeological research that is exploding our preconceptions of the Amazon and its peoples.”—Charles Mann, author of 1491

“The story of Z goes to the heart of the central questions of our age. In the battle between man and a hostile environment, who wins? A fascinating and brilliant book.” —Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point

“With this riveting work, David Grann emerges on our national landscape as a major new talent. His superb writing style, his skills as a reporter, his masterful use of historical and scientific documents, and his stunning storytelling ability are on full display here, producing an endlessly absorbing tale about a magical subject that captivates from start to finish. This is a terrific book.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

“What a wild and adventurous life! In the deft storytelling hands of David Grann, explorer Percy Fawcett emerges as one of the most ambitious, colorful, just plain intrepid figures ever to set foot in the New World. Part Indiana Jones, part Livingstone, and part Kit Carson, Fawcett has found his perfect biographer in Grann, who has gamely endured every conceivable Amazonian hardship to piece together the story of this British swashbuckler and his crazed search for a vanished civilization.”—Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers

“David Grann takes the reader on an extraordinary journey that snakes through expeditionary archives and ends deep in the Amazonian forest. The Lost City of Z is a gripping tale of a lost world and of the magnificent obsession of those who have sought it.” —Caroline Alexander, author of The Bounty and The Endurance

"The Amazon has had many chroniclers but few who can match David Grann's grasp of history, science, and especially narrative. Shifting seamlessly between the past and present, The Lost City of Z is a riveting, totally absorbing real-life adventure story."—Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower and In the Heart of the Sea

“A fantastic story of courage, obsession, and mystery, The Lost City of Z is gripping from beginning to end. In the pantheon of classic exploration tales, this stands out as one of the best.” —Candice Millard, author The River of Doubt

“A wonderfully researched true story about an intrepid adventurer, a colorful cast, and an obsession that grips both him and the author.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein