This unique travel book on Brazil by AJ Lees tells the true Colonel Fawcett story. Colonel Percy Fawcett was a British explorer, who in 1925 had gone in search of the lost city of Z in the Amazon, but never returned. Part Amazon travelogue, part memoir, Lees paints a portrait of an elusive Brazil and a flawed explorer whose doomed mission ruined lives.Read more
To the modern mind, the search for El Dorado, Amazonia’s fabled city of gold, has come to symbolise the ultimate fool’s errand, even more than dredging Loch Ness for a cryptozoological monster or looking for Elvis in far-flung locations. El Dorado is the quintessential fantasy.
Andrew Lees grew up blissfully besotted nonetheless. As a bookish child in postwar Merseyside, the idea of a gilded metropolis hidden deep in the Brazilian rainforest gripped his imagination. Responsibility for this boyhood fascination fell to a certain Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett. During one of their regular library visits, Lees’s father unearthed a copy of Exploration Fawcett and handed it to his son. ‘You’ll enjoy this,’ he told him. ‘It’s about an explorer who vanished without a trace in the Amazon.’
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This is a book about daydreams, melancholy and nostalgia in the very best sense. It is also dramatic travelogue, from boyhood fantasy about an imagined Brazil to its flawed but life-transforming reality.
This book is about the quest for a place that, like the mythical Lake Parima on ancient maps of South America, is only an illusion. Following in the maddening footsteps of the lost explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett, Andrew Lees explores his own life, and his longing for the deepest places of the mind and the remotest places on Earth. The trip is beautiful even if, in the end, that place is nowhere to be found.