Study Guide

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon Man and the Natural World

By David Grann

Man and the Natural World

The world can be divided into two groups: those love to hike and camp, and those who are sane.

We're kidding, all you crazy campers. Today, camping can be just as luxurious as staying in a four-star hotel. Or at least staying in a Motel 6. Tents come with floors and air vents; there are have been huge advances in bug repellent technology; and you can even bring a generator so you don't fall behind on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood on your iPad.

In The Lost City of Z, Percy Fawcett has none of these things. Not only is it hard to imagine a world without Kim K, but it's hard to imagine a world without campers, water filters, and canoes that you can fold in your pocket. Fawcett has to face off against the dangers of the Amazon with basically his strength and wits alone.

On the plus side, the Amazon has fewer cockroaches than Motel 6.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. What are Fawcett's biggest physical challenges in the jungle? How does he overcome them? How does technology make it easier for Grann to face similar challenges?
  2. What does Fawcett learn from the natives that helps him adapt to his environment?
  3. Are Fawcett's rival explorers as adept at dealing with nature as he is? How do Fawcett and Rice approach their environment differently?
  4. Who is the modern-day counterpart for Fawcett, a man who lives and works in the jungle the same way Fawcett did? Why do you think this man prefers to live in the jungle? What does Grann learn from him?

Chew on This

The more Fawcett explores, and the friendlier he is to local tribes, the more tricks he learns to find food, which is critical for survival in the jungle.

Surviving the Amazon requires a very specific skill set, and it's different from other survival skills. Knowing this, Fawcett thrives in the jungle, while Murray, who has been in the Antarctic, wilts rapidly.

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