The Lost City of Z by David Grann.
Soon to be a motion picture, this non-fiction narrative gives a detailed account of Col. Fawcett’s last perilous trek into the Amazons. Fawcett, his son, and a friend mysteriously disappeared while searching for a lost civilization.
Grann, a journalist, interposes Fawcett’s tale with his own adventures (and those of others) who sought answers about Fawcett’s disappearance.
Fawcett was an accomplished amateur explorer who had been trained by the Royal Geographic Society.
Grann strikes the right balance between describing Fawcett’s accomplishments and his romanticism and obsessions. Though early expeditions were focused on map-making, Fawcett became convinced of the existence of advanced Amazonian city lost in the jungle.
Though many people searched for the missing explorer, he disappeared in 1925. Some of his effects were found among various Indian tribes but it was his custom to give gifts as peace-making offerings.
Unlike other explorers, Fawcett approached Indians unarmed and cultivated friendships with the most dangerous tribes. His tactics required great courage and specialized knowledge.
Fawcett’s actions led the way for archaeologists to discover pre-Columbian settlements. While these were settlement were different from the stone ruins he pictured, they quite possibly may have been the civilization Fawcett was searching for all along.