Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Lost City of Z -- David Gann

I'm a sucker for Amazonian adventures, dating from my days of reading Bomba the Jungle Boy. So I naturally wanted to read The Lost City of Z as soon as I heard of it.

David Gann, a writer for The New Yorker, became interested in the story of Percy Fawcett, one of the last great English explorers, and decided not only to write about Fawcett but to try retracing his final expedition of 1925, the one from which Fawcett never returned. Fawcett was seeking a legendary lost city when he entered the jungle for the last time, and lost cities are another thing that I enjoy reading about.

Believe me, it's a lot more fun to read about them than it would be to look for them. Fawcett went on a number of expeditions into the South American jungles, and the hardships he and the others who went with him endured are almost beyond belief. There were times when they were near starvation. Maggots crawled in their sores. Worms even crawled under their skin. They got fevers. They were attacked by native tribes. And so on. You get the idea. Amazingly, they'd survive, recuperate, and return.

Grann had the advantage of modern technology, but his own trip was no picnic. Far from it. His own story is interspersed with chapters about Fawcett, and the whole thing is a fascinating adventure. Because I don't keep up with Amazonian exporation, I was surprised by the concluding chapter about the lost city itself. Gann doesn't find out what happened to Fawcett, but he learns a lot. I need to read more about this subject.

If you like true-life adventures, you can't go wrong with this one.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Looks interesting... I see it has a Kindle version, I think I'll download the sample, thanks.