The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

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Rate: 5/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers): Harkening back to the survivalist nonfiction streak I was on quite a while ago, e.g., Lost City of Z, In the Kingdom of Ice, Frozen in Time, Lost in Shangri-La, The River of Doubt, Preston’s adventure into the wild piqued my interest. I approached The Lost City of the Monkey God expecting harrowing tales of a similar nature as had been highlighted in the aforementioned books, however Preston adds a modern twist to tropical exploration. More so, far surpassing my typical prerequisites for an ideal nonfiction book, The Lost City of the Monkey God, provides a plethora of details not only about the actually trip into the forest, but also the history and politics of Honduras from Spanish conquest to modern day, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), the impact of diseases from Old World ravaging the New World, as well as, treatments for the tropical disease leishmaniasis, among many other subjects. Preston seemingly tried to thoroughly flush out every topic broached, even when his team confronted harsh criticism regarding their trip from fellow archeologists. While I’m sure bias makes its way into this account, Preston tried to toe the line by including interviews from the vocal opposition. As a fellow researcher, though ignorant of nuances in the archeology field, I tried initially to be sympathetic regarding both sides. Nonetheless, frankly I’m not sure why the opposition refused to bend even in the slightest. Unless Preston neglected to include contradictory information, it appears as though LiDAR will be a precious, time saving tool in tropical exploration. My husband is a civil engineer in Michigan and had years ago explained to me the significance of LiDAR in his own profession. As such, when applied to the jungle, instead of randomly searching for a needle in a very dangerous haystack, this advanced technology can pinpoint specific locations in dense undergrowth, therefore offering individual targets for further ground exploration. The success of the following land expedition to the identified blimps on the radar and the subsequent discovery of the City of the Jaguar in a relatively efficient manner compared to randomly striking out into the jungle, as seen in The Lost City of Z, should seem to  provide the needed proof to quiet any dissenters. Regardless, The Lost City of the Monkey God should be read by anyone in need of a harrowing, modern take on jungle exploration and archeology, as well as a love of details regarding a wide array of topics.

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