The Lost City of Z by David Grann
A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

75%

17 Critic Reviews

A colorful tale of true adventure, marked by satisfyingly unexpected twists, turns and plenty of dark portents.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The #1 New York Times bestseller  - now a major motion picture starring Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson. 

In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century. 

Look for David Grann’s new book, Killers of the Flower Moon, available now.
 

About David Grann

See more books from this Author
DAVID GRANN is a longtime staff writer at The New Yorker. He has written about everything from New York City's antiquated water tunnels to the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, from the hunt for the giant squid to the mysterious death of the world's greatest Sherlock Holmes expert. His stories have appeared in several Best American writing anthologies, and he has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. A collection of his stories, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, will be published in spring 2010.
 
Published February 17, 2009 by Vintage. 352 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 14 2017
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Critic reviews for The Lost City of Z
All: 17 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

A colorful tale of true adventure, marked by satisfyingly unexpected twists, turns and plenty of dark portents.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Mar 16 2009

As for Mr. Grann’s book, it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage, and it seems almost surely destined for a secure perch on the best-seller lists.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Rich Cohen on Mar 01 2009

In the end, “The Lost City of Z” has the odd effect of making the present age seem small, its heroes like museum miniatures. They had explorers who blazed trails, we have journalists who follow trails already blazed in search of explorers.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew Anthony on Jul 10 2010

It won't lessen the vivid pleasures of this ripping yarn to note that, while Grann doesn't succeed in all his objectives, he learns that an indigenous civilisation close to the Brazilian-Bolivian border may well have built cities almost a thousand years ago...

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Fitz on Feb 02 2010

For me, reading about these harrowing tales was enough to make me appreciate their heroism and steadfastness from afar. As a bestseller on the lists of the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Denver Post, and others, obviously I wasn't the only one who found the story irresistable.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Simon Winchester on Feb 27 2009

...somewhat less successful than his well-wrought and occasionally funny historical account of the Fawcett saga.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on Jan 06 2011

Grann was right. There was no way through it but to do it. He had to go where Fawcett had gone and see for himself. To tell everything he found out would spoil the fun of this highly detailed, exhaustively investigated historical mystery, which truly keeps its reader in “the grip.”

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Karla Starr on Feb 15 2009

The reader is taken just as close to Grann as the author is to Fawcett -- tantalizingly close but never touching. His findings give us as complete a picture of the city of Z as we're likely to get, even if Fawcett forever remains brilliantly and maddeningly nowhere to be seen.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Ellen Wernecke on Mar 19 2009

With his thorough and colorful research into all aspects of the colonel’s life, not just his triumphal reports to his backers, Grann drags this nearly forgotten figure and his thirst for exploration into a well-deserved spotlight.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on Feb 18 2009

Fawcett, a robust self-made man with an almost unnatural athleticism and resistance ?to disease, disappeared on an expedition in 1925. New Yorker writer David Grann ?fares better in The Lost City of Z, bringing back a fascinating yarn that touches on science, history, and some truly obsessive personalities.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Marie Arana on Mar 08 2009

Grann's voyage, in other words, was no disappointment to him. Nor is it to readers. Although Fawcett's story cuts through 100 years of complicated history, Grann follows its twists and turns admirably.

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The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Robert Colville on Apr 30 2009

To reveal whether “Z” existed would spoil the surprise: suffice to say that this is an engrossing book, whose protagonist could outmarch Lara Croft and out-think Indiana Jones.

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Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Jeremy Kutner on Feb 25 2009

And yet it’s hard not to care about the fate of this man who pushed himself so far beyond the normal limits of human capacity. And to read “The Lost City of Z” is to feel grateful that Grann himself bothered to set out for the Amazon in search of the bones of an explorer whose body was long ago reclaimed by the jungle.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Above average
Reviewed by Paul La Farge on Apr 03 2009

As far as I can tell, Grann’s own travels turned up no information about Fawcett or Z that hadn’t been published elsewhere. It’s the one part of the book that functions less as an exploration than as a kind of creaky simulacrum, an adventure ride that takes us to a city that’s been found over and over.

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Boston.com

Good
Reviewed by Chuck Leddy on Mar 11 2009

Grann's tale is a gripping journey into the unknown that, if less harrowing than Fawcett's, was nonetheless worth making.

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Red Dirt Reporter

Good
Reviewed by ANDREW W. GRIFFIN on Jan 30 2017

The narrative and journey Grann has us embark on is exciting and full of mystery, although times are changing in the deepest Amazon, with more indigenous peoples being exposed to the outside world.

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FLAVORWIRE

Above average
Reviewed by Matt on Apr 08 2009

As Grann searches for Fawcett’s remains, he meets an archaeologist with evidence that something approaching the Lost City of Z might well have existed (even if its streets were not paved of gold). For the reader, that discovery (along with the thrill of the story itself) will have to suffice, however, as Fawcett’s true fate still remains a mystery.

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Michael Manley 20 Aug 2013

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Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

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