The Lost City of Z: Stranger Than Fiction
It’s been a while since I have had a chance to down some good non-fiction.
Inspired by the Amazon Best Books (So Far) of 2009, I dug into The Lost City of Z.
My hip parents had picked it up on their own, a belated birthday present for Peter. I waited patiently for him to finish it. He praised it faintly, but I was undeterred.
I have been at the margins of the Amazon River myths, buying The River of Doubt and Fordlandia, for my Dad over the years. The River bows to no one. While we all know that intellectually, the history and detail of the region in the Z book was inspiring. Where air travel, adventurism and Google Earth have left no stone unturned in this great big world, it seems that life–both tribal and animal–sit mysteriously and secretively under the canopy.
The author, David Grann, is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a self-proclaimed obsessive about his subject matter. And what perfect a selected storyteller, as he relates the history of Percy Fawcett, a British Explorer who embarks on a quest in 1925 to find the “Lost City of Z”. This ancient civilization known as El Dorado was a myth for hundreds of years and Fawcett sets out to prove himself in the Royal Geographic Society and make “the most important archeological discovery of his time.”
The obsession unfolds. Not just in joining Percy, but in the hundreds who followed, trying to find the original party that mysteriously disappeared. Finally, we follow David Grann, as he leaves his family safely in NYC and chases the Percy trail yet again.
It’s a great adventure tale. The history and legacy of the Amazon is amazing. If there is anything that was unsatisfying, well, I’m a bit cranky about unsolved mysteries. You’ll need to find that zen like place which says it’s all about the journey, not the destination…