Study Guide

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Chapter 22

By David Grann

Chapter 22

Dead or Alive

  • Fawcett has disappeared, and like Bon Jovi, he's wanted dead or alive.
  • Fawcett's family members want any news they can get.
  • More rumors fly about Fawcett than rumors about Beyoncé's fake pregnancy.
  • Fawcett's longtime rival, Dr. Rice, consoles Nina, Fawcett's wife.
  • However, Rice doesn't care enough to actually go into the jungle and find Fawcett.
  • Instead, a rescue party is helmed by George Miller Dyott, a WWI pilot and explorer.
  • At Bakairi Post, Dyott meets a native guide named Bernardino who says he guided Fawcett.
  • Bernardino leads Dyott down a marked trail, where Dyott eventually reaches a settlement of the Nahukwa tribe.
  • The tribe welcomes Dyott and his men, but Aloique, the chief of the Nahukwa, looks suspicious.
  • Dyott notices a variety of British items in their village, like a medal and a trunk, and he suspects that the tribe killed Fawcett and kept his stuff.
  • Dyott tells Aloique his party plans to leave, but overnight, Aloique and his men vanish.
  • Other tribes show up and demand gifts from Dyott.
  • Dyott runs out of stuff to give, and the tribes become hostile.
  • Overnight, Dyott and his men escape down the river.
  • However, years later, Brian Fawcett starts poking holes in Dyott's dramatic story.
  • Brian Fawcett doesn't believe his father would have left a marked trail.
  • The gear found in Aloique's house may have been a gift from Fawcett.
  • Missionaries say that Aloique is friendly.
  • And finally, no one ever finds anyone named Bernardino. Pro-tip: if you're going to make up a story, pick a more common name.
  • In 1932, a man named Stefan Rattin visits the British Embassy in São Paulo. He says that Fawcett is being held captive.
  • Uh, is this guy's middle name "Bernardino"?
  • Rattin enters the jungle with a few men to rescue Fawcett.
  • Rattin's never heard from again.
  • Later, an English actor named Albert de Winton attempts to rescue Fawcett.
  • Winton's not an explorer, but he plays one in the movies.
  • The key phrase in that previous line is "not an explorer." Winton, like Rattin, never returns.
  • For years, many people go on suicide missions into the jungle. "One recent estimate put the death toll from these expeditions as high as one hundred" (22.51).
  • Guys, get a better hobby.
  • Meanwhile, Nina, Fawcett's wife, becomes more and more obsessed over her husband's disappearance.
  • Nina receives a report from missionaries who say they've discovered a native who says he is Jack Fawcett's son.
  • Life magazine publishes an article about Dulipe, "the White God of the Xingu" (22.59).
  • When Nina sees the pictures, she realizes the boy is an albino. Albinism is surprisingly common among jungle tribes.
  • In the 1950s, Nina receives a report that the Kalapolos Indians admitted their tribe killed Fawcett.
  • As proof, they have his bones.
  • Nina is going to have a bone to pick with these guys.