The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

The Lost City of the Monkey GodThe Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an account of a true life Indiana Jones type of adventure. Specifically, it details the search for the “White City,” also known by the name in the title, in Honduras. The city’s very existence was something of a dubious legend for decades. There have been many accounts and debunked claims by various explorers and con men that they found or visited the ancient city deep in the jungle. But in 2012 a lidar aerial survey revealed that there was a vast city buried under the jungle canopy in a remote valley. A team of scientists, historians, filmmakers and the author, sponsored by National Geographic and various others, eventually got permission from the Honduran government to develop “ground truth” at the site.

The trip in and out was extremely hazardous for many reasons: e.g. political instability, narcotraffickers, deadly snakes and tropical diseases, and rickety aircraft. Before the author’s expedition is detailed he goes into the history of the legends and previous attempts to find it and gives some biographical background of those involved. That’s not fascinating, but still very interesting. The book is a nail-biter and page-turner once the author’s expedition is detailed. What they found and how they found it is astounding, but is not the end of it. The subsequent fallout from the discovery is mind-blowing and includes academic jealousy or controversy, political fighting, racial/ethnic tensions, medical issues and security concerns. The fight to preserve the site and its treasures has been as difficult as the effort to find it. I highly recommend this book.

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