The Lost City of Z

A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

339 pages

English language

Published Nov. 6, 2009 by Doubleday.

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4 stars (27 reviews)

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, he embarked with his 21-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 clues he left behind--became an obsession for hundreds who followed him. As Grann delved deeper into Fawcett's mystery, and the greater mystery of the Amazon, he found himself irresistibly drawn into the "green hell."--publisher description

3 editions

The Lost City of Z

4 stars

1) "Fawcett had determined that an ancient, highly cultured people still existed in the Brazilian Amazon and that their civilization was so old and sophisticated it would forever alter the Western view of the Americas. He had christened this lost world the City of Z. 'The central place I call 'Z'–our main objective–is in a valley... about ten miles wide, and the city is on an eminence in the middle of it, approached by a barreled roadway of stone,' Fawcett had stated earlier. 'The houses are low and windowless, and there is a pyramidal temple.'"

2) "From its source, the river descends sharply. As it gathers speed, it is joined by hundreds of other rivulets, most of them so small they remain nameless. Seven thousand feet down, the water enters a valley with the first glimmers of green. Soon larger streams converge upon it. Churning toward the plains below, the …

Review of 'The Lost City of Z' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Hmm, let's see: the Amazon, adventure, and great writing. And it's nonfiction! Win, win, win.

Loved reading this, and loved how Grann turned his research into suspense, rendering new findings about Amazon civilizations revelatory in impact by the end. Just goes to show that there's still uncharted territory out there left to be discovered by intrepid souls.

Review of 'The Lost City of Z' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

The Lost City of Z tells the story of Percy Fawcett, a legendary British explorer who disappeared in 1925 along with his son looking for an ancient lost city in the Amazon. For decades explorers, archaeologists and scientists have tried to find any evidence of this lost city of El Dorado which Fawcett has called Z. it is believed that over 100 people have perished or disappeared in this search in David Grann explores this topic in the book The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.

While my wife was away in Chile and Brazil I thought I would read a book set in that continent so after a bit of research and cross checking with what my library had I decided on David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. Maybe not the best book to read while she was away but I want …

Review of 'The Lost City of Z' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was a very good read. There are two stories in one in this book. One is the story of Henry Percy Fawcett, a British explorer of the late 19th century/early 20th century. He is in the vein of other great explorers such as Shackleton or Stanley. His explorations took him to the Amazon, where he went to seek the mythical city of Z, the El Dorado conquistadores looked for. In 1925, he vanished without a trace. We move to the author who is on a quest not only to tell Fawcett's story, but to trace the explorer's path and find out his fate. Mind you that such an errand, trying to find Fawcett, has claimed the lives of at least 100 people.

If you like adventure tales and reading about explorers in the tradition of fiction works like H. Rider Haggard or Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Professor Challenger may …

Review of 'The Lost City of Z' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Subtitled "A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazone", "Lost City Of Z" gives us the real life story of world-reknowned Amazon explorer Percy Fawcett's 1925 quest for an ancient city deep in the heart of the Amazonian highlands. An expert and intrepid explorer, he brought along his oldest son and his son's best friend, and they were never heard from again. Their disappearance has sparked an endless stream of other explorers, hoping to find out what happened to them. By some estimates, upwards of 100 others have lost their lives in this quest.

Grann is a reporter who also became fascinated, almost obsessed by Fawcett's story. The book is told with intertwining stories, of Fawcett's career in India and his many earlier Amazon explorations and with Grann's investigations and preparations for his own hike into the jungle. He also combines stories of other explorations into the deepest parts of …


  • Fawcett, Percy Harrison, -- 1867-1925? -- Travel -- Amazon River Region
  • Fawcett, Percy Harrison, -- 1867-1925? -- Death and burial
  • Grann, David -- Travel -- Amazon River Region
  • El Dorado
  • Explorers -- Amazon River Region
  • Amazon River Region -- Description and travel