by David Grann
After a prestigious career mapping the interior of the Amazon, explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett ventured in with his oldest son, and his son's best friend to find a lost city he theorized was there. They never returned. Over the almost century since countless others have tried to follow their path and find the lost party. Many of those were never seen again. Reporter David Grann takes a look into the obsession that prompted Fawcett and numerous others into risking their lives and reputations and gets swept away in the rush himself.
This isn't a dry bit of history. Grann takes an engrossing and in depth look into Fawcett's life. He uses many contemporary and original sources including Fawcett's own papers, and interviews with surviving members of his family. Beginning with his early life as a member of the British military, we have a pragmatic view of how and why Fawcett became who he was. In our time, adventurous, trail blazing (literally) men are a rare thing which makes this story all the more fascinating.
I had a hard time putting this book down (so I could do things like make dinner and go to bed). Grann does an excellent job of sucking you into the story. By the end, I absolutely had to know what really happened to Fawcett. (I trusted the author made it out of the Amazon alive since the book was published.) The ending wasn't quite what I was expecting but it was still satisfying.
It's a true life, action-adventure story that you can live right from your living room. It also reminds you of the points in your own life where you have found yourself standing on a precipice (in Grann's case this wasn't figurative) and stop to think, "How the hell did I end up here?" Obsession has it's part in all of our lives no matter how small that part may be. The Lost City of Z reminds us that while obsession can be a driving force for good, it can also lead to tragedy if you don't heed the warnings.
BIS Rating: 4 nightlights
BIS Rating system:
1 nightlight = put it down and didn't care to pick it back up
2 nightlights = finished the book
3 nightlights = enjoyed the book but probably wouldn't re-read it
4 nightlights = had a hard time putting the book down
5 nightlights = stayed up way too late to finish instead of going to bed
David Grann's The Lost City of Z on Amazon.com