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Your Next Adventure Read: “The Lost City of Z”

Your Next Adventure Read: "The Lost City of Z"

If you're looking for a real-life adventure story, check out "The Lost City of Z." Read our review to discover more about the true tale!

Post Author

Hannah Kiger

This year’s Summer Reading Program theme is “Adventure Begins at Your Library.” The program (which is now in full swing!) has us chasing all the real and imaginary adventure stories we can find.

Circulation Services Library Clerk Em Baker recently reviewed one such true story : David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.” You can read Em’s review below!

Click the book cover below to place a hold on a physical copy of the book. If ebooks and audiobooks are more your style, you can also find the story through Tennessee R.E.A.D.S and the Libby app.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll do anything to get it. When that something is an answer to one of the 20th century’s most compelling mysteries, the path you take to find it may have a fatal end.

JCPL Book Review Lost City of Z Cover

In David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z,” readers are drawn along two such paths. The first is that of the British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished into the Amazon in 1925 along with his son and his son’s best friend.

The second path is that of the book’s author David Grann, who trekked after the missing adventurer 80 years later in search of concrete information about his fate.

These dual perspectives round out the narrative and connect two ends of a story separated by nearly a century.

Fawcett was hailed as one of the last great individual explorers, who struck out with only the equipment he could carry on his back and a small team, rather than later well-financed expeditions into unknown spots on the map.

He was seized by the desire to ferret out the secrets of the world’s hidden places and discover new horizons. Fawcett’s obsession, and the obsession of every unfortunate soul who followed him into that dark jungle, colors the narrative. Readers are sucked into the “green hell” that so captivated the people hungry for fresh frontiers.

“The Lost City of Z” is not a book that inspires readers to strap on their hiking boots and march into their own local wilderness, regardless of the lack of parasitic glass catfish or hungry panthers at Bays Mountain. But it does capture the imagination and leave readers enthralled at the yet-undiscovered corners in our increasingly connected and exposed world.

As privacy wanes in the digital age, such secluded places can hold an appeal, but Grann cautions that it is a “counterfeit paradise.” Grann’s hardships hacking through the rainforest to meet with an anthropologist in a remote village speak for themselves in that regard.

Grann is the kind of nonfiction writer that can draw in even the most skeptical readers, with prose and pacing that make the book feel more like a thriller than dry history. Grann uses his journalistic skill to both tease out the human complexity of Fawcett and to describe his own tribulations in his quest to do what at least a hundred others have died attempting.

His determination is admirable and his setbacks humbling as he chronicles his efforts to find the lost city that has haunted the minds of many would-be adventurers over the past century. This is a worthwhile read for nonfiction veterans and newbies alike.

Your Library’s staff members love giving book recommendations! If you need something new to read, we can help find books and authors that are perfect for you. Call (423) 434-4450 or drop by 100 West Millard Street to talk with a librarian. We also regularly highlight and recommend books on Facebook and Instagram, so follow us!

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