The Lost City of Z - a tale of obsession in the Amazon
by Grann, David
pub. by Doubleday, NY 2005       isbn (for Random House Large Type edition 978-0-7393-2834-7     514 p. total - - maps ahead of text - - photos between p. 306 and 307 - - Acknowledgements p.393 - - A Note on Sources p. 399 - - Notes p. 403 - - Selected Bibliography p. 465 - - Index p. 489
This is the biographical and adventure story of (British Army) Colonel Percival (Percy) Harrison Fawcett and his exploration and eventual disappearance in the upper Amazon area of Brazil. He disappeared in 1925.
David Gann did considerable research and even found some diaries not previously available to other researchers among the papers kept by one of Faucetts grandchildren.
Faucett was an army officer assigned to Ceylon, while there became enthusiastic about exploring in tropical areas. He also met his wife, daughter of a locally stationed Englishman there.
He volunteered for an expedition, requested by the Brazilian and Bolivian governments to explore and determine the border between their countries. This border was in the jungle on the eastern side of the Andes mountains. He led the expedition in 1907-1908 in extremely dangerous conditions. He managed to complete it in a single year though 2 years had been allotted for the project.
After that Faucett got enthused about Amazonian exploration, did a lot of research including discovering what the early Spanish and Portuguese explorers reported. In 1914 at the end of one of his explorations he discovered that England was at war. He immediately returned and resumed his military position and distinguished himself as an officer in the artillery. After the war funding was minimal, but he persisted in doing more Amazonian exploration. One in 1921 ended unsatisfactorily. He returned to his wife and family who at that time were living in California, USA. They were very poor at the time. Faucett got together what he could and with his son Jack and the sons friend Raleigh Rimell went on his final expedition in 1925. This expedition traveled deep into the Mato Grosso, the part of the Amazon jungle on the SW side of Brazil and disappeared. Several expeditions were sent to find them over a period of over 80 years. Non found Faucett, son friend. Several disappeared themselves, many others died. One as late as 1998 barely escaped with their lives. David Grann, the author, went on his own minor expedition and had modest luck, even finding an elderly person who may have remembered the Faucett expedition passing through. Another group suggested that they passed by them and against that groups leaders advice went in the direction of a fierce tribe who surely killed them.
Grann did find one group living in a fairly sizable village and who had an anthropologist, Michael Heckenberger, living with them. Heckenberger showed Grann the reminints of the greater civilization which had existed over 500 years ago and had mostly vanished, as earthworks and wood structures will in the jungle. Long causeways, rings of moats etc. are discernible if you know what to look for. In essence there was a - lost city - just not one that existed after population collapse.
A very good read - recommended - A movie by the same title was released in 2017. I hope to see it some day.
~ 2017-04-21 ~

to Books index page.