The Lost City of Z

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The Lost City of Zby David Grann | Simon & Schuster

David Grann, a staff writer at the New Yorker, sets out to the Amazon to discover what happened to Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett 85 years ago.

Fawcett had led a small expedition into the heart of the jungle, with his son Jack and Jack’s friend Raleigh Rimell at his side, in search of a fabled civilisation that Fawcett had termed Z. Much like El Dorado, this place was supposed to have been a complex centre with many riches, lost to the jungle when diseases from European conquistadors ravaged the population. Somewhere in the jungle, Fawcett disappeared.

Brings to life the trials of trekking through the jungle

Grann intertwines the tales of Fawcett’s earlier expeditions and family life, with his own present day research into the man and that fateful journey.

Hacking through mistruths and fabrications – some created by Fawcett himself to throw rivals off his tracks – Grann clears a path to Fawcett’s last known location. His writing brings to life the trials of trekking through the jungle, creating a true boy’s own story and a rip-roaring ride.

Many adventurers have tried to track Fawcett’s expedition, and very few of those made it back. But through diligent work at the Royal Geographical Society and in family archives, Grann discovers this last location was many miles from where those before him had thought it was. Eventually, obsessed himself with both Fawcett and Z, he sets out to prove the final location and hopefully find Z, to discover, finally, what became of the last of the individualist explorers, the South American Livingstone who never met his Stanley.

First published: Traveller magazine, Spring 2009
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