I am not a huge reader of non-fiction. For me to really get into a non-fiction title, it usually has to be about something I really care about (like Say Goodbye to Survival Mode) or read like fiction (like King of the Mild Frontier). This fell into the latter category. A friend had recommended this book to me when it first came out, but it kept getting pushed to the back burner. Finally, I told myself that I needed to take a break from all the dystopias I was reading/listening to and dive into a non-fiction title. I’m so glad I did! The details were so vivid and David Grann wrote such a fantastic narrative that I thought to myself, several times, “This would make an awesome movie. It’s like a real life Indiana Jones adventure!” Imagine my shock and elation, then, when I heard [on the radio this morning] that it is going to be made into a movie… produced by Brad Pitt, no less. So awesome!
One of the things I liked so much about this book was the layered storytelling. David Grann skillfully wove together his own research, planning, and travel experiences with stories from primary documents relating to British explorer Percy Fawcett’s quest to rediscover the “Lost City of Z.” Though there were many stories about an advanced, ancient civilization in the Amazon (which some believed to be El Dorado), countless explorers failed to find evidence that the city actually existed. Instead, many died in their search or brought back “evidence” that the native peoples were not nearly organized or advanced enough to have built the city of legend. While many wrote it off as a fable, Percy Fawcett, a member of the Royal Geographical Society, became obsessed and refused to give up the search. Fawcett became a legend among explorers because of his uncanny ability to avoid the injuries and illnesses that often killed other men, let alone his aptitude for communicating and negotiating with the various groups of natives he encountered. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how this plays out on the big screen.