Hi Book Lovers!
I recently listened to this story and I want to briefly discuss!
The Lost City of the Monkey God
By: Douglas Preston
A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn’t until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.
To begin, I want to briefly summarize to everyone that I am pursuing majors in World History and Anthropology. I am obsessed with three things (take it as you’d like):WWII from a European standpoint, American Indian history, and the history of the Southwest including histories in North and South America such as the Aztec, Maya, so on and so forth. The majority of classes I’ve been taking the past 3 semesters have all been around the histories of the Southwestern regions and this story fell in line with that learning. Also, it can be quite fairly assumed I picked this book up for the reasons mentioned above. I did.
I had not heard of this tale, legend, or whatever other fanatical word you’d like to use. Perhaps what drew me in mostly to this story was hearing the first hand experiences of the people involved in this journey (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Preston journeys with researchers and others to see if they can uncover anything about the rumors that have lasted for centuries over the supposedly lost city based on the Monkey God.
Starting with stories drifting through history enters a man named Theodore Morde who, in the early part of the 20th century, claimed he had found this city that had been lost to its people and the past. However, he eventually takes his own life without telling anyone of the things he supposedly found.
This book traveled through it all. It started with the train of people who have talked about or previously attempted to search for this place and how they got to the point of doing this in their lives. However, once we finally got to how it all connected to today’s story was important in my opinion. Then we follow this new team going out in to the wilds of the jungle which features one of the most venomous snakes in the world as well as other creatures that have never seen humans before.
The learner in me was so ecstatic to hear the most mundane things: how they prepped to go into the jungle including their supplies and expectations; the way the wildlife works; how researchers have attempted to use different technology to find the right locations; digging up the past including old journals and stories from people who claim to have gone; the trek through the jungle and the sounds, sights, and thoughts everyone had while taking this journey. I couldn’t get enough of it all. This is what I want to do. Highly venomous snakes and all.
The other part of this story I enjoyed was Preston discussing how deforestation and looting are damaging not only the jungles and all that live there, but history as well. It kills me that such sites lose their context, information, and history because of looters. It kills me that all the creatures in these areas who have never interacted with the destruction of humans are dying off and losing their homes due to carelessness.
The only part of the story that I didn’t enjoy as much was the extensive conversation around the disease at the end. While I am not trying to discredit its importance for not only the crew who got sick or anyone else who has the disease mentioned, it did take up a lot of time at the end and didn’t tie in as well to the main story of the lost city which bummed me out at the end.
- Has anyone read this story?
- Does this topic interest anyone?
- How would you feel about venturing into the depths of an unknown jungle knowing you are risking your life?