“The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” by David Grann (Doubleday, 2009)

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In 1925 one of the world’s last explorers, Percy Fawcett, traveled into the heart of the Amazon jungle with his son for his last expedition in search of a lost civilization.  It was a worldwide publicized event, with Fawcett writing journal entries and having a messenger take them to the nearest large town to be sent via telegraph to the rest of the world.  Then the entries suddenly stopped and Fawcett was never heard from again.  Expeditions were made to discover what happened to them; nothing was ever found, while some more people were lost to the Amazon.  The Lost City of Z is the story of Percy Fawcett, his life and how he became a great explorer, and where his obsession for the Amazon came from.  It is also the story of the mystery of this doomed last expedition, and all the efforts – some ending in tragedy – that have been made since then.

David Grann is a staff writer for the New Yorker who first found out about Percy Fawcett while researching an article on the mysterious death of the world’s foremost Sherlock Holmes expert.  The Lost City of Z takes Grann all over the world, from visiting Fawcett’s great granddaughter and seeing some of his original journal entries, to putting together his own expedition to find out what really happened to Percy Fawcett.  The Lost City of Z is the incredible story of one of the last explorers, but it is also the story of the strength of the human spirit and it’s drive to never give up.  Percy Fawcett was a real life Indiana Jones and this is his fascinating story.

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Originally written on February 9th 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with David Grann check out BookBanter Episode 26.