Friday, April 17, 2009

The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
by David Grann
$16.50 in the Hansisgreat Gift Shop
ISBN: 978-0385513531
$23.95 for the downloadable audiobook
The Amazon rain forest is nearly as large as the continental US.
The river begins high in the Andes Mountains, and holds more water than all of the rivers in China combined. In some places it is almost 300 feet deep.
As for the jungle itself, visitors must deal with pirhanas, vampire bats, electric eels, jaguars, anacondas, and abhorrent parasites that swim up one's penis or vagina to burrow into the host's spine. The humidity breeds huge clouds of gnats and mosquitoes, which are miserable to deal with in addition to causing malaria and yellow fever. Mold grows instantaneously, ruining equipment and making food inedible.
For all these reasons and more, the region was one of the last places on earth to be explored and mapped. Rumors persisted of a legendary city deep in the rain forest, built by a sophisticated civilization with monumental architecture.
"Colonel" Percy Harrison Fawcett, our story's hero, had already mapped much of Brazil and Peru when he set out to find what he called the lost city of Z in 1925. What a bizarre character! Fawcett is a world famous explorer and military hero, with bombastic ambition and a peculiar obsession with the occult. He brings a small group, including his debonair eighteen year-old son Jack, determined to map the Brazilian rain forest and either prove or debunk the Z legend once and for all.
The entire group mysteriously disappears and is never heard from again. Most assume they were victims of the hostile conditions, while some believe they found the city of Z and loved it too much to leave. In subsequent decades, dozens of parties tried to retrace Fawcett's steps, only to be killed or retreat in despair.
The author includes tales of adventure from his own expeditions to the rain forest in modern times. David Grann became interested in the Fawcett story, and has since tried to solve the eighty year-old mystery of what happened to the world's greatest explorer.
The Lost City of Z is history and travel writing at its best, filled with fascinating stories about cannibals and shrunken heads.
Although it was only published two months ago, Z has already been optioned for a film by Paramount. You heard it here first.

1 comment:

kirthi said...

informative and interesting....
nice work.....