Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The lost city of Z by David Grann

The lost city of Z....A travelogue -an adventure story- a biography-a historical narrative all rolled into one ! I had actually finished reading this book sometime back...had loved it very much.I came across some notes scribbled about this book today....and...well...here we are !

Percy Fawcett was one of the last individual explorers.Not a specialized one...mind you...( i.e.like an archaeologist,a botanist or a zoologist.) ...a general one....but still extremely dedicated.During his many expeditions he provided a lot of territorial information about the Amazon Basin.He suspected that there were ruins of a great civilization somewhere in the Amazon basin.Scientists of his time did not believe this-the Amazon ecology does not support life ( However now we know that this is not true-the author found the Indian people staying in the Amazon jungle--these people are nature worshipers.) With poor funding and natural difficulties of the terrain finding of the lost city of Z was nearly impossible.

Well...Mr.Fawcett went on this expedition to never return ! His fate remains unknown to this date.Speculations were that they were captured or killed or gone native.Numerous similar expeditions were sent to trace them,many of which never returned.

Amazon jungle is a fascinating but scary place.Hot humid climate,dense forest where even plants fight for survival,soil continuously leached of nutrients,inability of sunlight to reach the ground,huge predators and even more scarier huge insects-disease carriers-- sometimes attacking the eyes-frequent maggot infestations of the wounds thus caused !( Indians appear immune to these.They also have herbal and-surprisingly-musical remedies-They use music to lure maggots out .Music is also used for foshing and hunting.They also use certain fruit juices to attract and stun fishes.)

Unfortunately none of the Fawcett's fellow explorers were as sturdy as him.All of them suffered terribly.One feels bad for Jack Fawcett-Percy's eldest son and his friend Raleigh-they went on their maiden expedition and never returned.

The author traced heirs of Fawcett got his diaries and papers. Fawcett was a crafty fellow-fearing that his rich rival Dr.Rice will beat him to the city of Z, he kept his route secret.Not even his rescuers could trace him.Somehow the author managed to get his camp coordinates and was able to trace his route.
 The book is author's attempt to trace Fawcett's route and give us a plausible solution of Fawcett's fate.The account is quite fascinating and the Amazon forest comes alive- you can feel the creepiness !

Sometimes I do wonder-what is the point of sacrificing your life for such a belief.However due to contributions of such people that Amazon reveals her secrets.Now, with advanced technology,it is possible to have detailed geographical information.Traces of two ancient civilizations have actually been found. Fawcett you were right after all !!