Sold as a narrative nonfiction title for readers of adventure stories, this book helped get me into the whole notion of reading nonfiction for pleasure. Any sort of archaeological adventure is an easy sell for me, so I avidly listened to this book on unabridged audio CD.
While the main subject of the book, explorer Percy Fawcett (1865-1925?), was an interesting character, I was particularly fascinated by the descriptions of the Amazon jungle. Most notably the myriad insects, ticks, worms and other parasites that plague explorers of this "green hell."
I was hoping for more descriptions of ancient ruins and lost civilizations, but the other details more than made up for it. I found the author’s hypothesis regarding the nature of the lost city known as “Z” fairly compelling, although my imagination almost demands ancient stone zigurats and complicated death traps to confound explorers! The author’s ideas are much more realistic and have a power of their own.
- How was the jungle viewed and experienced in the age of Victorian explorers, and then in our modern age of deforestation and "civilization?"
- Would you ever want to explore undiscovered country far from the comforts of civilization?
- Do you think there are any untraveled or unexplored destinations left in the world?
- The author spent a lot of time describing the insects and other parasites that preyed upon the explorers, and all the other hardships they experienced. Why would people want to subject themselves to that, and even do it again?
- What did you think of Percy Fawcett as described in this book?
- How well do you think the author portrayed the mindsets and prejudices of the explorers and the culture they came from?
- How were native peoples described in this book?
- This book has been billed as an adventure story. Did you find that it read as such?