The Lost City of Z by David Grann

11:17 AM

Pages: 351
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN13: 9781400078455
Genre: Non-fiction

Review by Geraldine

Synopsis ( In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett 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.
My Thoughts: 
First off, I did not know what in the world I was thinking when I bought this book. As always, I was browsing Amazon when this book popped up as a recommendation for me. I had never read a non-fiction book that involved the Amazon before, so why start now? Well, if you've already read the summary above then you can easily guess what the answer to that question was.
The chapters alternated between the author and Percy Fawcett, for the most part one chapter would be about David Grann while the next chapter would be about Percy Fawcett. Of course we saw that David Grann's story was set in present modern day, while Percy Fawcett's story was set in the past. This type of set up was perfect for me because it completely drew me in and kept me interested the entire time while reading both of their stories. It also helped the pacing of the story which was very fast paced and full of twists and turns that I didn't see coming from both Grann and Fawcett. Also, I think adding quotations throughout the book from different people ranging from Fawcett to other explorers added to the whole experience. Like the one below; one of the most meaningful quotes that describes many characters through the book:
"No living man...shall stop me. Only death can prevent me."
Apart from the quotations, there were some wonderful referrals to other books and pieces of writing in various chapters. I don't know what it was that the author did but it was like he had some kind of power over me, because he always had me looking up each title of a book or piece of writing that was mentioned. I mean can you even believe that I had my heart set on purchasing a book written in the 1800s by Fawcett's brother?
Percy Fawcett's life is mostly described in order of events throughout the book.  We join him from the very beginning of his journey that starts us off at his life before joining the Royal Geographical Society (a society that was based on the advancement of geographical sciences). We weave through the process he went through to join the society, which became an important part of his life. We even are led to surprising events like Fawcett actively serving in World War I, which led to an interruption in his search for "Z". We go through many expeditions with Fawcett which mostly lead to shocking outcomes for members in his party. From these outcomes, we see that he is clearly a man that will risk anything and everything to get to this so called city of "Z". Also, throughout each chapter we also experience life in the shoes of Percy Fawcett so precisely that it feels like we are right there with him. I mean, it almost seemed like it was me holding various apparatuses trying to figure out my next move in the depths of the Amazon.
While David Grann is no expert in expeditions or geography, we see the dedication he has in finding what happened to Fawcett and on top of everything following clues to finding the location of "Z". His journey starts off with him visiting the Royal Geographical Society's archive in hopes of filling in the missing pieces to the puzzles by going through Fawcett's papers (which were primarily correspondences). He even goes to the extremes of contacting Fawcett's granddaughter, where he makes a jaw dropping discovery. After an in depth investigation, Grann decides that he is going to attempt to follow the route of Fawcett's last attempted expedition. With that said, can I just pause for one second and mention that Grann was in no way, shape or form the type of man that should be going to the Amazon. We clearly see that Grann did not have the knowledge, capability and worst of all did not even know what one wears to the Amazon! But, again we see the dedication and determination he has emerge as we follow him through his own journey in the Amazon.
There literally was not anything that I didn't like about this book, but there was something that bothered me, just a teeny tiny bit. What bothered me was that on a rare occasion, the author would veer off and mention the most random fact (literally the MOST random fact). Although it did bother me a little, I will say that I fully enjoyed the parts where the author veered off. I know what you're thinking...that does not make any sense at all right, how could she be bothered by it and enjoy it? I knew I enjoyed when this happened because when I came across these parts, I would look them up immediately online due to the fact that they were so interesting (I always had to know more). You can see why this bothered me, because it quickly became a problem for me. It became a problem because it would stop me from reading the book and veer me off to the subject that I was looking up (looking up and learning new things online apart from what I learned from the book was so enjoyable for me!).
Can we just talk about what I loved the most about this book? How about the gruesome scenarios that members in Fawcett's party went though when they were trekking through the Amazon. The way those parts were written made me feel the pain that the character was going through...I even got goosebumps! I just completely loved loved (did I say loved yet?) loved the parts where the expedition was described full on, which was a good chunk of the book! I also loved how the author tried to lead me towards this certain ending and then did a complete 180 on me and just completely surprised with the real ending to the book! There are other parts in the book that I loved but unfortunately will not be mentioning, because I do not want to ruin the journey that you will take, if you decide to read this book.
All in all, if you are looking to jump into a remarkable journey through the Amazon that takes you through an abundance of breathtaking experiences, I highly recommend this book! I guarantee it will keep you wanting more after every page!
 5/5 stars!

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