Review: The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z, by David Grann

A Reader's Respite loves adventure books. We figured out a long time ago that reading about nasty bugs and deadly reptiles in exotic locales is far, far preferable to an actual encounter.

Yes, A Reader's Respite is a coward.

But that's why authors like David Grann write books like the recently released The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.

No, not that Amazon (although it certainly can be applicable, in our opinion)...this Amazon:

nasty, mean critters live here

This is the story of Percy Fawcett, the man who spent most of his life exploring the Amazon for the Royal Geographic Socity in the early 1900's.

Over time, Fawcett became convinced that the Lost City of Gold, frequently referred to as El Dorado, did indeed exist deep in the Amazon. In fact, he felt that he had pinpointed the exact location of what he called the City of Z.

So in 1925, worn out from a lifetime of exploration and desperately lacking funds and personnel, Fawcett, his son Jack and Jack's best friend set off on their own to finally reach the City of Z.

They were never seen again.

the man himself

Using the previously unavailable private papers of Fawcett himself made available by the family, David Grann traces this last fatal expedition and finally provides some answers.

And while A Reader's Respite isn't giving anything away here, we will say that Fawcett's ultimate fate isn't the point of this grand adventure. Rather, the point of the adventure is the adventure itself.

Fawcett's entire life is laid out in this book: the explorations, the hardships, the incredibly deadly conditions in the Amazon and the toll all of this took on the man himself, as well as his family.

awwww, isn't he cute? yea, well, he can kill you instantly in the Amazon.

Far from pefect, Fawcett emerges as man who was addicted to the thrill of the hunt. The cost of this obsession was paid in his physcial and mental health, his dignitity, his legacy, and ultimately his life.

This is a grand tale, folks.

Who should read this? Anyone who has a taste for armchair adventures. Personally, I'm thinking Father's Day gift for this one.

Oh, and for what it's worth, the book rights here have been sold off and a movie is currently in production, due out in 2010 and starring (who else?) but:

Want to give it a try or know someone who would? A Reader's Respite just happens to have an extra copy and would love to give it away. Leave us a comment and our blog secretary will draw a random winner on Friday, March 20th. He's good like that.

Title: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Author: David Grann
ISBN-13: 978-0385513531
352 pages
Publisher: Doubleday
Date: February 24, 2009

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  1. I already have this book, but haven't read it yet (although it occurs to me it might have more about the candiru fish that I learned about in The River of Doubt - that could be worth reading about!) BUT the real reason for writing is to find out whether this blog secretary is the NEW blog secretary you were posting about the other day, in which case I would of course want to enter the contest in case there is home delivery of the book!

  2. What a cute little frog. Who would think he'd be dangerous?

    Brad Pitt in an adventure movie - Yes, I'd go to see him. He's a cutie too.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. hehe, I think the frog is actually my troll from the other Amazon. Just as deadly too - zap another negative vote or three or four :)

  4. Rhapsodyinbooks - LOL...we'll see if he reminds me to draw a winner for this book, ha.

    Morgan - my luck, I'd pet the frog and be a dead woman in hours. :)

    Misfit - bwahahahaha - ain't that the truth?

  5. I'd say there are plenty of mean, nasty critters living at the OTHER Amazon too.

    Please put me in the drawing for the book...I love adventure! I may read it three years from now, but I promise to read it!

  6. I really enjoyed this book too! My son loved the frog photo that you used. :)

    Here's a link to my review:

  7. This sounds really good, and you're right about Father's Day, I can just see my hubby reading this book - please enter me in the drawing too! :

  8. Good call for a Father's Day gift!

    He is cute...the frog, I mean. Brad's not bad either...nor the guy he'll be portraying.

  9. Oooh, sounds great! I love that kind of book and would love to enter the drawing.

    I accept Brad Pitt as a suitable substitution for Viggo (but don't do it too often).

  10. good to see you filled that secretary job!

    No need to enter me in the give away, especially since I somehow got two copies myself, which I will give away when I ever get to reading it.
    I am trying to be the last person to read ever new book out.
    I am doing very well at it, thank you.

  11. I love your sense of humor in your great. You're so funny...I love it! This books sounds super exciting...I can't wait to read this one.
    Happy Reading!

  12. This book sounds good! Please enter me in the drawing. I love a good adventure story.

    PS my university bio prof had a few of those frogs in a tank in his office. They are cool!

  13. No need to enter me. Loved the graphics with your review - especially the frog. He really does look cute.

    So who got the secretary job?

  14. Brad Pitt? hmm... I think I'll stick with the book, I see enough of Brad Pitt at the newstands, on TV etc..
    But tell that Sexy Secretary wink wink he'd better pick me for the book.
    Thanks for the review!

  15. Sandy - the other Amazon just needs an exterminator, lol.

    Alyce - thanks...I added your review to the list!

    Julie and Bybee - it does kinda scream "Father's Day" doesn't it?

    Beth - you can rest assured that it will never happen again here. I guess Viggo was busy filming The Road so couldn't do this film. Pitt is merely 2nd string.

    Caite - LOL, you're in the running with me on that one.

    TheChicGeek - awww, thanks...I love your blog too!

    Emily - what was he planning? To set them loose in the class if you guys ticked him off??? ;) Yikes.

    Luanne - Sadly, Mr. RR has decided to vie for that post. Party pooper. We'll have to wait and see.

    Marie - I'm still waiting for his resume to come in. Evidently Mr Fancy Pants Actor is too good for a blog secretary position. It was worth a try though. And yes, I agree re: Pitt....too much.

  16. Sounds like something up my alley. While not a big Brad Pitt fan (I mean, I AM, but who isn't, right?) I think it sounds like great fodder for a film.

  17. This sounds like a fantastic Book. I'd love to win. Your review, Brad, the frog.. it is all good!

  18. You can put my name in the drawing too. I like the way you wrote your review. It was fun to read as well as easy to read. Thanks.

  19. Don't enter me. This book sounds so good - I'm looking forward to reading it.

  20. Ok, you've convinced me that this needs to be one of the next books I read! Question is, will I have to check it out from the library or win it?!? Enter me in the contest please!

  21. Oh...I would love to win this book if I'm not too late! I found a review of this one about 2 weeks ago and it just intrigues me. And Brad Pitt starring in a movie helps a little bit too I must admit!

  22. Hope I'm not too late! This sounds like an awesome story and I love the pics :)


  23. I'm thinking perfect Father's Day gift. Thanks for the idea.

  24. This sounds pretty good. And the fact that I can imagine Brad Pitt while reading it... Not too shabby. ;o)

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Fire away!