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In this true story, author Douglas Preston takes us along on his journey deep into the heart of the rainforest in Honduras, as a team of scientists, filmmakers, hired guards, soldiers and others try to find traces of the fabled White City aka the Lost Rumors of ancient lost cities awaken in us dreams of making great archeological discoveries and finding buried treasure, but as is so often the case, these are only to be achieved by most of us through a vicarious armchair adventure like this one!
In this true story, author Douglas Preston takes us along on his journey deep into the heart of the rainforest in Honduras, as a team of scientists, filmmakers, hired guards, soldiers and others try to find traces of the fabled White City aka the Lost City of the Monkey God.
Preston is there to cover this expedition for National Geographic and is partnered with photographer Dave Yoder to record their experiences. The group sets off on Valentine's Day, , heading to one of three remote locations that had been pinpointed earlier by a high-tech lidar machine and other GPS data as likely spots to start looking.
Preston describes the arduous process of preparing landing sites for the helicopters, flying in people and equipment, setting up camp and finally doing some actual unearthing of artifacts.
In the process, they are beseiged by bugs, frightened by snakes and soaked in torrential rains. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick--they only have two weeks to accomplish at least some of their goals before they must return expensive equipment and vacate the area.
And what they find is astounding, as the photos Preston includes reveal! But their efforts are rewarded with criticism from the academic world.
And did they happen to bring back the curse of the Monkey God? Preston's book also includes some historical background and tales of earlier adventurers that I'm sure you will find as interesting as I did.
And he makes some predictions for what the future holds for the spread of weird 'new' diseases as global warming changes our planet. Read for my library's Readers Roundtable for February, Mar 05, L.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As a true story, this book doesn't follow a conventional narrative arc.
Instead, it reaches what one thinks of the climax, makes a right turn into relevant history of disease introduced to the Americas by Europeans, and concludes by circling back to a different parasite that inhabits this rain-drenched paradise.
This is an amazing book. The lost city is central to Honduran As a true story, this book doesn't follow a conventional narrative arc. The lost city is central to Honduran First Nations as a Canadian would describe it history and as such, adds an entire new dimension to the country's culture.
The find was so significant that the president of Honduras ceremonially removed the first artifact for study.
Preston doesn't hesitate to include quotes from the naysayers yet he retains a journalist's objectivity throughout. The opening paragraphs will pull in many readers, as they did me.
Highly recommended to thriller, mystery, and suspense readers, and to all interested in Central American and North American history--and to those who study diseases.
View all 3 comments. I am familiar with this author through his fictional works mainly, including his collaborative efforts with Lincoln Child.
If anyone could make a true story of this incredible find come alive on the pages, it is Douglas Preston. The author, personally, went on 3.
The author, personally, went on this dangerous expedition, so much of what he tells us is first hand information. The parts of the actual arrival into the jungle, the various deadly animals, insects, weather, and elements they faced was fascinating to read about.
Coming directly from someone who was there, it was even more impressive. Honestly, I can say with certainty that--lost city or not--I would not want to be caught up in the conditions they were for ANY length of time.
Although I only gave this one a 3. This was more based on the "history" lesson that started us off. We were tantalized with the building of the team, and then given background information on previous attempts to find this legendary city.
At the beginning, this was interesting too, but the further into the book I got, the more impatient I became for them to get into the thick of things, themselves.
Overall, the book's section on them being IN the actual jungle was so fluidly written that I felt as if I was watching it on a movie screen.
After the, unfortunately shorter portion of the book that dealt with the discovery, something just as captivating came. Members of the expedition were coming down with a rare--sometimes fatal--disease called leishmaniasis.
Of the three different "varieties" of this, the team had contacted the third, and most difficult to cure, form. The descriptions of what this could do--think of it by the nickname of "white leprosy"--were absolutely nauseating.
The ending focused on the difficulty of treatment for many, and then a bit of commentary about climate change and other factors that could be contributing to diseases such as Leish migrating to other locations.
Overall, a lot of history into the past expeditions that eventually failed, but the actual CURRENT expedition, was positively absorbing. Likewise, the thought of diseases like this one that morph over time, and are capable of wiping out a civilization, had me cringing in my seat.
All move toward dissolution, one after the other, like waves of the sea falling upon the shore. View all 9 comments.
White people are an insensitive, self-aggrandizing, entitled lot, especially the American male ones. And that's how they got a curse.
So now you're ready to read my thoughts because, despite being told that was NOT what was going on, all those images above kept running through my head as I listened to this and I feel they should inspire you, as well.
After I gave up my plans to be a ballerina around age 4 I hated gymnastics and when I realized ballet was more of the same but different, I was like, Nope!
But there weren't a lot of oceans or marine life in the middle of Colorado. However, there were plenty of things to dig out of the dirt and I was exceptionally good at digging in dirt.
A career path was born. It was later dashed when I entered college and saw the ridiculous amount of math I'd have to take in order to pursue my dreams and I was like, Nope!
And now I have a BA in English. But between age 4 and age 17, I crammed a ton of archaeology and paleontology, as well as cryptozoology and mythology because related fields, into my brain.
I retain a strong sentimental love for all the misinformation I fed myself during those years so it's not a surprise I ran, shrieking with glee, into this story, full-tilt, pith helmet secured on top of my ponytail, knife in my calf holster.
I was not disappointed. And, seriously, we are a horrible bunch of people. Because who else but the descendants of English colonizers and Spanish conquistadors would think it's perfectly acceptable to go into someone else's country with a film crew to dig up their old growth jungles in order to chase myths and maybe gain some fame in the process?
That is NOT ok! Thankfully, Preston does touch upon this a few times and it was a bit of a balm to know that, yes, we should know better and that there are people out there who protest this kind of spoiled, dickish behavior.
But, you know, what's done is done The city wasn't lost to everyone in the area who knew it was there. It was only lost to white people who felt it needed to be found and dug up.
Also, the government of Honduras thought finding said mythical place would be pretty good PR during a shaky time so even though the native tribes in the Mosquitia area were all, "Um, don't go in there.
We've been staying out of that area for years, we know what we're talking about," the government was like, "Don't listen to them.
They're poor and dirty. Here are some elite soldiers to protect you from the crazydangerous drug runners that run around those hills.
Then get back with us when you find something. Make sure it's something cool because we really need a pick-me-up right now.
It was almost as if some external force was keeping him away. For, like, 22 years. He talked to this other guy, Ron Blom , who worked at NASA and had helped to find another "lost" city ok, that one was actually lost.
It got swallered up by a sinkhole and then sanded over in the '90's. Ron Blom had used technology for finding old cities and roads and Elkins wondered if that technology could be used in the jungle, too.
However, it did remind people to keep an eye on fancy advances in treasure hunting apparatusi. By this point in the story, and I think I was still on the first disc, I was swooning.
Also, squealing with glee. I was in the middle of my fondest wet dream! Rediscovering the remnants of ancient cultures who have been quiet for ages!
Oh, goodness, I'm fanning myself even now. Our fearless writer, a sometime journalist for National Geographic, is on board. There's a film crew and an archeologist and a couple of experts on ancient Honduran cultures, and the two hero-types who are in charge of keeping the group safe and getting them to where they need to be and the aforementioned elite soldiers and some pilots and a LIDAR technician.
There's a big crew of people, mostly men, mostly white, and they're all heading into the Honduran jungle to fuck things up. I keep pointing that out because, seriously, who the hell do we think we are?
And you're thinking, "You're the one swooning, here. Everyone goes to the jungle. There are killer snakes and there are some jaguars, there's quicksand and caves full of bones along the river banks and mosquitoes and sandflies and those little suckers carry my new favorite horrible disease, leishmaniasis.
I used to prefer plague, specifically bubonic, but, pssht. It's all about the leishmaniasis now! It may be the oldest continuous parasite on the planet, having been found in dinosaur remains and still active in jungle regions across the globe.
There are three kinds: That third one's a doozy. The parasite migrates to the mucus membranes of the victim's nose and lips and eats them away, eventually creating a giant, weeping sore where the face used to be.
It's the hardest to treat because the treatments have horrible side-effects, including ruining your kidneys.
You can die from the parasite or from the treatment! The Google has pictures. Feel free to thank me for not posting them here but you can go find them, yourself, if you're as ghoulish as I am.
Ciudad Blanca is totally cursed. Also, calling it City of the Monkey God is offensive so stop already. In fact, view spoiler [the area that was excavated is now renamed City of the Jaguar and it's untouched by looters so archeologists can see everything in-situ, the way it was left after the citizens vacated the city or died.
I'm just yelling at you out of pure excitement, pretty much. You can get a better idea of the contents if you read the article Preston wrote for National Geographic and if you like it, then read this book!
Or listen to it, though, listener beware: The narrator is terrible with Spanish and MesoAmerican language.
His pronunciation is just so Fascinating, sobering, and mind-blowing. Yes, we start with a jungle expedition that is thwarted, then attempted again.
We get snarling insults about colonial arrogance and disregard for native peoples. Add in massive and aggressive snakes who shoot venom at those lucky enough not to have their Kevlar boot gaitors pierced by fangs as long as my thumbs.
Insect bites, clear cutting of rainforest, looting. Elongate skulls coated in clear crystals, like pale sugared candies glinting by lantern light.
And I totally get Preston. North America has bananas because Jules Verne mentioned them in a book. This is an all encompassing story of a modern archeological discovery, from the first idea of the possibility to the remarkable results.
It looks at history, modern technology, snakes, jungle, bugs, artifacts, and dangers of exploration. The last section on disease was most interesting.
Medical history is also fascinating. This book cov Most fun fact: This book covers both and a lot more. I listened to the audio version and enjoyed the narration.
I own this book. I purchased an autographed copy. If you think you're about to read an archaeological treatise on the discovery of a truly 'lost city' - a word true archaeologists hate - then fuhgeddaboudit.
Did I spell that right, all you Soprano-lovers out there? This is a story about a discovery by a writer who writes adventure-mystery-suspense novels, sometimes with a writing partner.
His adventure-mystery-suspense books are great! Did I say great? They are among my most favorite books, I own this book. They are among my most favorite books, and I don't give a hoot if anyone criticizes my grammar, spelling or syntax.
D So the book is written from a different sort of perspective than one might expect. This book is written from the POV of a guy who knows words and knows suspense, but is actually just a regular guy so he writes about regular stuff.
About how astounded he is to be on this project. About the people working around him. I loved this point of view. It's one I don't often see in books which are about something which really happened.
Plus I have always loved 'lost cities' and as a child had a book with a green cover with that name on it exactly: I mean, political scientific correctness aside - and I've got a degree in Biology, btw - how many kids grew up and wanted to be archaeologists, historians or anthropologists just because of that book, or books like it?
So what's it about? About the discovery of a city in the jungles of Honduras, an area where even the looters and local drug smugglers haven't gone.
The city is HUGE, but hidden by centuries of forestation. There are pyramids and plazas, a court for playing handball. The city has some elements which are 'Maya-like,' but many which are not.
It appears to have been deserted centuries ago for reasons unknown, though there are a lot of hypotheses about that. Archaeologists love to speculate on all this stuff, and argue, both among themselves and with people like Preston and the others who made this find.
The arguing can get rather petty at times, IMO. One of the first finds uncovered is a cache of objects - beautifully carved jaguars, vultures and other animals.
It's all of this which makes the book so fascinating. The jungle, the bugs, the people, the weather mostly rainy , the animals, the nearly impassable terrain.
It's also loaded with scientific details, including a fascinating explanation of 'lidar' which I followed completely, as well as information on the culture, environment, biology and history of the area in which the 'lost city' was found.
This book was great and though it ended on a creepy note - a discussion of leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease which Preston and several of his co-explorers contracted, and which some of them are still struggling with years later - this book was the one I carried around the house with me.
When I had two minutes here, ten there, half an hour or so, I read this book. I devoured this book. One of my family members said, is that book attached to you, or what?
D Of course I'd read almost anything Mr. Preston writes, but that's not the point. It's simply a wonderful book. This is the first non-fiction book I have read by Douglas Preston.
He is an "unreliable" author in that he has written some books that I have truly enjoyed "Jennie" and some books that have been among the worst I have ever read "Tyrannosaur Canyon".
This being non-fiction and the concept - looking for a lost civilization in the jungle - fascinating. The book starts off describing the many dangers of jungle explorations: The team Preston had few doses of anti-venin against the fearsome and aggressive fer-de-lance snake, there simply wasn't more to have.
This meant that they would have to be extremely careful. Even knowing exactly where they were going, discovering exactly where the lost city was thanks to lidar imagery - getting there was still a grueling task.
The team were dropped off within a few hundred feet of what was obvious previous human habitat from the lidar images - on the ground trees, leaves and greenery hid everything.
There is no way that this could have been discovered without technology, it would have been far more difficult than looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Unless the haystack is teeming with snakes that look like hay and you have no possibility of burning any of it.
The jungle was almos impenetrable. There were plenty of descriptions of this green hell, making you never want to go there. The discoveries on site were pretty amazing though.
Preston then goes on to give an analysis of what went wrong, drawing on Jared Diamond's "Guns, germs and steel" as well as "collapse" by the same author.
The demise of American local inhabitants should be well known - and although I did know, I didn't have it quite figured out as laid bare here. Preston and most of the rest of the crew, didn't get from the jungle unscathed.
Oh no, they returned with a tropical disease for which the treatment can also kill you. This was an informative and entartaining book, keeping the promises of the blurb and the title.
This was about so much more than the Lost City--it was packed with information, presented in a palatable way and even tone. I feel stupidly excited by how much I learned and how incredibly interested I was in absolutely every facet of this discovery and the ripple effect of the exploration itself.
I think this book had the content of a feature National Geographic article stretched out into a book.
I got more enjoyment from reading the surrounding controversies from these announced discoveries. More to come after we discuss it in book club!
Finally crossed Honduras off my around the world reading though. The Lost City of the Monkey God is a fascinating look at the spectacle, the science, and the politics of twenty-first-century archaeology.
In it, Douglas Preston deftly weaves a number of tales, both historic and contemporary, into a whole that is far more than the sum of its parts.
Even when it veers into prolonged tangents on topics such as bananas, Preston manages to keep the reader enthralled and thirsty for knowledge.
A lot of this book is about spectacle and, despite the naysayers, spectacl The Lost City of the Monkey God is a fascinating look at the spectacle, the science, and the politics of twenty-first-century archaeology.
A lot of this book is about spectacle and, despite the naysayers, spectacle has always been a huge part of science. Nobody wants to invest millions of dollars and risk their life on a boring journey to pick up something of negligible interest.
Spectacle is what gets us excited, it's what drives us towards discovery, and it's what motives us to support and finance those discoveries.
As Preston illustrates, that's not always a good thing - stories of con-men and liars abound here - but you can't sever the emotion from the intellectual pursuit.
After all, no matter how interested they may be in the history and the scientific techniques, I daresay most readers will be picking this up primarily for the spectacle of a mythical lost city, hidden deep inside the deadly Honduran rain forest, filled with treasures not seen in over a thousand years.
As for the science, those who so casually dismiss The Lost City of the Monkey God because of the spectacle are doing themselves a massive disservice.
There is a lot of science here, and it is utterly fascinating. It's mind-blowing to see how far we've come over the last century, and to understand just how complex and expensive the most cutting edge techniques are.
As Preston illustrates time and time again, skepticism of anything new is still alive and well, even after all these years, with some people vehemently against the idea of using technology as an archaeological tool.
That brings us, of course, to the politics of it all. One the one level, there are the actual government-level politics of mounting an expedition, with permission, clearance, and licensing needed to even conduct a simple aerial search.
More than once, we read of an expedition derailed at the last minute by the tides of war or political upheaval. On another level, there are the petty internal politics of the scientific community, with people completely discounting the expedition's accomplishments to make an esoteric intellectual point about process or to argue semantics.
They would rather see such cities remain undiscovered, robbing the world of the chance to learn about a lost civilization, than have even one person be 'wrongly' entertained by the spectacle.
I should also add, in closing, that this is a book about consequences. Preston spends a lot of time talking about the dangers of the rainforest, recounting terrifying encounters with giant, venomous snakes, and disgusting battles with tiny, crawling, biting insects.
He talks of diseases, deadly accidents, flash floods, and more, but everybody congratulates themselves on coming out of the expedition alive.
As terrifying as nights in the rainforest might have been, it's watching people being eaten alive by parasites, suffering from treatments that are reserved only for patients who are at death's door, that reminds you of the price we pay for the knowledge we gain.
Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration.
This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review. Final Thoughts 1 7 Apr 27, Mysteries Demystified 5 9 Apr 27, Reward 5 7 Apr 27, Archaeology 3 8 Apr 25, Video of the Expedition 7 10 Apr 25, Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in , and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley.
Following a distinguished career at a private nursery school--he was almost immediately expelled--he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston.
Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two fr Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in , and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley.
Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two front teeth to his brother Richard's fist; and various broken bones, also incurred in dust-ups with Richard.
It can change its size, multiply, and fight according to its master's whim. It weighs 13, jin 8. When not wielding the weapon, Sun Wukong shrinks it down to the size of a sewing needle and tucks it behind his ear.
The phoenix -feather cap was one of the treasures of the dragon kings , a circlet of red gold adorned with phoenix feathers.
Traditionally it is depicted as a metal circlet with two striped feathers attached to the front, presumably the signature plumage of the fenghuang or Chinese phoenix.
Upon his return to the mountain, he demonstrates the new weapon to his followers and draws the attention of other beastly powers, who seek to ally with him.
Sun Wukong then defies Hell's attempt to collect his soul. Instead of reincarnating, he wipes his name out of the Book of Life and Death along with the names of all monkeys known to him.
Hoping that a promotion and a rank amongst the gods will make him more manageable, the Jade Emperor invites Sun Wukong to Heaven.
The monkey believes he will receive an honorable place as one of the gods but is instead made the Protector of the Horses to watch over the stables, the lowest job in heaven.
The Heavens are forced to recognize his title; however, they again try to put him off as the guardian of the Heavenly Peach Garden. When he finds that he is excluded from a royal banquet that includes every other important god and goddess, his indignation turns to open defiance.
He steals and consumes Xi Wangmu 's Peaches of immortality , Laozi 's pills of longevity, and the Jade Emperor's royal wine, then escapes back to his kingdom in preparation for his rebellion.
Sun Wukong later single-handedly defeats the Army of Heaven's , celestial warriors, all 28 constellations, four heavenly kings , and Nezha , and proves himself equal to the best of Heaven's generals, Erlang Shen.
Eventually, through the teamwork of Taoist and Buddhist forces, including the efforts from some of the greatest deities, and then finally by the Bodhisattva of mercy , Guanyin , Sun Wukong is captured.
After several failed attempts at execution, Sun Wukong is locked into Laozi's eight-way trigram Crucible to be distilled into an elixir so that Laozi could regain his pills of longevity by samadhi fires.
The Jade Emperor and the authorities of Heaven appeal to the Buddha , who arrives from his temple in the West. Buddha bets that Sun Wukong cannot escape from Buddha's palm.
Sun Wukong smugly accepts the bet. He leaps and flies to the end of the world. Seeing nothing but five pillars, Wukong believes he has reached the ends of Heaven.
To prove his trail, he marks the pillars with a phrase declaring himself the great sage equal to heaven and in some versions, urinates on the pillar he signed on.
He leaps back and lands in the Buddha's palm. He is surprised to find that the five "pillars" he found are in fact the fingers of the Buddha's hand.
When Wukong tries to escape, the Buddha turns his hand into a mountain. Before Wukong can lift it off, the Buddha seals him there using a paper talisman bearing the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum in gold letters.
Sun Wukong remains imprisoned for five hundred years. Five hundred years later, the Bodhisattva Guanyin searches for disciples to protect a pilgrim on a journey to the West to retrieve the Buddhist sutras.
In hearing of this, Sun Wukong offers to serve the pilgrim, Tang Sanzang , a monk of the Tang dynasty , in exchange for his freedom after the pilgrimage is complete.
Understanding that the monkey will be difficult to control, Guanyin gives Tang Sanzang a gift from the Buddha: When Tang Sanzang chants a certain sutra, the band will tighten and cause an unbearable headache.
To be fair, Guanyin gives Sun Wukong three special hairs, to be used in dire emergencies. Tang Sanzang's safety is constantly under threat from demons and other supernatural beings, as well as bandits.
A third conjecture is found in Jain texts. This version states that Hanuman spent his childhood on an island called Hanuruha , which served as the origin of his name.
Other names of Hanuman include:. Outside the Indian subcontinent, though his iconography and the details of his legends vary, his names are phonetic similar to the Indian version:.
The earliest mention of a divine monkey, interpreted by some scholars as the proto-Hanuman, is in hymn The twenty-three verses of the hymn are a metaphorical and riddle-filled legend.
It is presented as a dialogue between multiple characters: The king of the gods Indra responds by telling his wife that the living being monkey that bothers her is to be seen as a friend, and that they should make an effort to coexist peacefully.
The hymn closes with all agreeing that they should come together in Indra's house and share the wealth of the offerings.
This hymn, which includes an explicit discussion of sex and differences between species, has been interpreted in a number of ways by contemporary scholars.
Dandekar states that it may metaphorically refer to another fertility god, while Wendy Doniger compares it to a horse sacrifice.
Stephanie Jamison states that the hymn mentions a bull-monkey, a euphemism for a horse and fertility ritual, very different from the later era Hanuman.
According to Philip Lutgendorf, there is "no convincing evidence for a monkey-worshipping cult in ancient India".
Pargiter theorized that Hanuman was a proto-Dravidian deity. Further, adds Emeneau, the compound ana-mandi makes no semantic sense in Tamil, which has well developed and sophisticated grammar and semantic rules.
The "prominent jaw" etymology, according to Emeneau, is therefore plausible. Vanaranam naranam ca kathamasit samagamah Translation: How can there be a relationship between men and monkeys?
Hanuman is mentioned in both the Hindu epics , Ramayana and Mahabharata. Utpatti Aur Vikas "The tale of Rama: Hanuman is mentioned in the Puranas.
This development might have been a result of the Shavite attempts to insert their ishta devata cherished deity in the Vaishnavite texts.
Other mythologies, such as those found in South India, present Hanuman as a being who is the union of Shiva and Vishnu, or associated with the origin of Ayyappa.
In Valmiki's Ramayana , estimated to have been composed before or in about the 3rd century BCE, Hanuman is an important, creative character as a simian helper and messenger for Rama.
The character evolved over time, reflecting regional cultural values. Hanuman evolved and emerged in this era as the ideal combination of shakti and bhakti.
According to Hindu legends, Hanuman was born to Anjana and father Kesari. One story mentioned in Eknath 's Bhavartha Ramayana 16th century CE states that when Anjana was worshiping Shiva, the King Dasharatha of Ayodhya was also performing the ritual of Putrakama yagna in order to have children.
As a result, he received some sacred pudding payasam to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of Rama , Lakshmana , Bharata , and Shatrughna.
By divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship.
Vayu , the Hindu deity of the wind, delivered the falling pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it.
Hanuman was born to her as a result. According to Valmiki's Ramayana, one morning in his childhood, Hanuman was hungry and saw the rising red colored sun.
Mistaking it for a ripe fruit, he leapt up to eat it. In one version of the Hindu legend, the king of gods Indra intervened and struck his thunderbolt.
It hit Hanuman on his jaw, and he fell to the earth unconscious with a broken jaw. His father, Vayu air , states Ramayana in section 4.
The lack of air created immense suffering to all living beings. This led Prajapati , the god of life, to intervene and resuscitate Hanuman, which in turn prompted Vayu to return to the living beings.
In another Hindu version of his childhood legend, which Lutgendorf states is likely older and also found in Jain texts such as the 8th-century Dhurtakhyana , Hanuman's Icarus -like leap for the sun proves to be fatal and he is burnt to ashes from the sun's heat.
His ashes fall onto the earth and oceans. They find everything except one fragment of his jawbone. His great-grandfather on his mother's side then asks Surya to restore the child to life.
Surya returns him to life, but Hanuman is left with a disfigured jaw. Some time after this event, Hanuman begins using his supernatural powers on innocent bystanders as simple pranks, until one day he pranks a meditating sage.
In fury, the sage curses Hanuman to forget the vast majority of his powers. There is quite a lot of variation between what happens between his childhood and the events of the Ramayana , but his story becomes much more solid in the events of the Ramayana.
After Rama and his brother Lakshmana , searching for Rama's kidnapped wife, Sita , arrive in Kishkindha, the new king, and Rama's newfound ally, the monkey king Sugriva , agrees to send scouts in all four directions to search for Rama's missing wife.
To the south, Sugriva sends Hanuman and some others, including the great bear Jambavan. This group travels all the way to the southernmost tip of India, where they encounter the ocean with the island of Lanka modern day Sri Lanka visible in the horizon.
The group wishes to investigate the island, but none can swim or jump so far it was common for such supernatural powers to be common amongst characters in these epics.
However, Jambavan knows from prior events that Hanuman used to be able to do such a feat with ease, and lifts his curse.
The curse lifted, Hanuman now remembers all of his godlike powers. He is said to have transformed into the size of mountain, and flew across the narrow channel to Lanka.
Upon landing, he discovers a city populated by the evil king Ravana and his demon followers, so he shrinks down to the size of an ant and sneaks into the city.
After searching the city, he discovers Sita in a grove, guarded by demon warriors. When they all fall asleep, he meets with Sita and discusses how he came to find her.
She reveals that Ravana kidnapped her and is forcing her to marry him soon. He offers to rescue her but Sita refuses, stating that her husband must do it A belief from the time of ancient India.
What happens next differs by account, but a common tale is that after visiting Sita, he starts destroying the grove, prompting in his capture.
Regardless of the tale, he ends up captured in the court of Ravana himself, who laughs when Hanuman tells him that Rama is coming to take back Sita.
Ravana orders his servants to light Hanuman's tail on fire as torture for threatening his safety. However, every time they put on an oil soaked cloth to burn, he grows his tail longer so that more cloths need to be added.
This continues until Ravana has had enough and orders the lighting to begin. However, when his tail is lit, he shrinks his tail back and breaks free of his bonds with his superhuman strength.
He jumps out a window and jumps from rooftop to rooftop, burning down building after building, until much of the city is ablaze. Seeing this triumph, Hanuman leaves back for India.
Upon returning, he tells his scouting party what had occurred, and they rush back to Kishkindha, where Rama had been waiting all along for news.
Upon hearing that Sita was safe and was awaiting him, Rama gathered the support of Sugriva's army and marched for Lanka.
Thus begins the legendary Battle of Lanka. Throughout the long battle, Hanuman played a role as a general in the army. During one intense fight, Lakshmana, Rama's brother, was fatally wounded and was thought to die without the aid of an herb from a Himalayan mountain.
Hanuman was the only one who could make the journey so quickly, and was thus sent to the mountain. Upon arriving, he discovered that there were many herbs along the mountainside, and did not want to take the wrong herb back.
So instead, he grew to the size of a mountain, ripped the mountain from the Earth, and flew it back to the battle.
This act is perhaps his most legendary among Hindus. In the end, Rama revealed his divine powers as the incarnation of the God Vishnu, and slew Ravana and the rest of the demon army.
Finally finished, Rama returned to his home of Ayodhya to return to his place as king. After blessing all those who aided him in the battle with gifts, he gave Hanuman his gift, who threw it away.
Many court officials, perplexed, were angered by this act. Hanuman replied that rather than needing a gift to remember Rama, he would always be in his heart.
Some court officials, still upset, asked him for proof, and Hanuman tore open his chest, which had an image of Rama and Sita on his heart. Now proven as a true devotee, Rama cured him and blessed him with immortality, but Hanuman refused this and asked only for a place at Rama's feet to worship him.
Touched, Rama blessed him with immortality anyways, which according to legend, is set only as long as the story of Rama lives on.
Centuries after the events of the Ramayana, and during the events of the Mahabharata, Hanuman is now a nearly forgotten demigod living his life in a forest.
After some time, his half brother through the god Vayu , Bhima , passes through looking for flowers for his wife. Hanuman senses this and decides to teach him a lesson, as Bhima had been known to be boastful of his superhuman strength at this point in time supernatural powers were much rarer than in the Ramayana but still seen in the Hindu epics.
Bhima encountered Hanuman lying on the ground in the shape of a feeble old monkey. He asked Hanuman to move, but he would not.
As stepping over an individual was considered extremely disrespectful in this time, Hanuman suggested lifting his tail up to create passage. Bhima heartily accepted, but could not lift the tail to any avail.
Bhima, humbled, realized that the frail monkey was some sort of deity, and asked him to reveal himself. Hanuman revealed himself, much to Bhima's surprise, and the brother's embraced.
Hanuman prophesied that Bhima would soon be a part of a terrible war , and promised his brother that he would sit on the flag of his chariot and shout a battle cry that would weaken the hearts of his enemies.
Content, Hanuman left his brother to his search, and after that prophesied war, would not be seen again.
The Sundara Kanda , the fifth book in the Ramayana, focuses on Hanuman. Hanuman meets Rama in the last year of the latter's year exile, after the demon king Ravana had kidnapped Sita.
With his brother Lakshmana , Rama is searching for his wife Sita. This, and related Rama legends are the most extensive stories about Hanuman. Numerous versions of the Ramayana exist within India.
The characters and their descriptions vary, in some cases quite significantly. The Mahabharata is another major epic which has a short mention of Hanuman.
In Book 3, the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata , he is presented as a half brother of Bhima , who meets him accidentally on his way to Mount Kailasha.
An expedition in the jungles of Honduras uses advanced technology to search for the remains of an ancient civilization. Rosemary Joyce, a professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley, said an expedition lead by filmmakers reeks more of Indiana Jones than it does real science -- and some 20 other archaeologists agreed.
Some indigenous people bristled when the Honduran President removed the first artifact himself. They consider the site sacred, and said it should be left alone.
In the end, what this expedition unearthed was more than just relics; it became a stew of excitement, questions, criticism, and ill health.
So did Chris Fisher. The National Institutes of Health diagnosed it as frightening parasitic disease called Leishmaniasis.
Over the next few months, about half the expedition came down with the early symptoms, and had to undergo the painful treatment. Bill Benenson and Steve Elkins were spared, and their documentary about their adventure is now in its final edit.
As for the site, only a fraction of it has been excavated, and questions linger about how -- or if -- to go back again.
Raised in Lisbon, the artist real name Alexandre Farto uses not a delicate brush, but drills and jackhammers to create arresting, very large-scale pieces.
Published in , Mary Shelley's gothic novel "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus" has inspired scores of film and TV adaptations - horrific, comic and ridiculous.
Share Tweet Reddit Flipboard Email. More Sunday Morning Street artist Vhils' chiseled portraits Raised in Lisbon, the artist real name Alexandre Farto uses not a delicate brush, but drills and jackhammers to create arresting, very large-scale pieces Frankenstein on screen Published in , Mary Shelley's gothic novel "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus" has inspired scores of film and TV adaptations - horrific, comic and ridiculous.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she can't afford Washington apartment yet views. Evacuations ordered as fast-moving wildfire grows in California views.
Michelle Obama reveals daughters were conceived through IVF views. Broward County again at the center of turmoil in a Florida recount views.
Families of downed jet victims ask Trump to press Putin for answers views. Greg Diane, well, the final chapters reveal why, exactly, this entire civilization simply disappeared.
True, the first part of the book is very good: But I liked that Preston went on with his explanation. Lists with This Book.
I can scarcely find words to describe the opulence of the rainforest that unrolled below us. The tree crowns were packed together like puffballs, displaying every possible hue, tint, and shade of green.
Chartreuse, emerald, lime, aquamarine, teal, bottle, glaucous, asparagus, olive, celadon, jade, malachite--mere words are inadequate to express the chromatic infinites.
Morde committed suicide shortly after returning from his adventures, taking his secrets with him. Had he been cursed by the Monkey God?
The team focused in on one valley that was isolated and difficult to access easily on foot. They were going to bring new technology to the search by borrowing what is called a lidar machine.
It shoots thousands of lasers at the jungle floor from a plane. It records the reflections that bounce off the objects on the ground. The software eliminates leaves, trees, and any other objects that are not part of, hopefully, the man made structures hidden beneath the canopy.
All hell broke loose over the use of this technology. The academic world, outside of the normal petty jealousies, suspicion of success, and paranoias that afflict all centers of higher learning, seemed to be more offended by the use of this technology, as if the expedition were cheating by using it.
See, the problem was the lidar mapping found not one large site of manmade structures, but two. I do have to admit it does take some of the romance out of the whole swashbuckling archaeologist image that I grew up with.
The cities were still there unmolested because no one had been able to penetrate the jungle effectively to find them. Despite being able to drop into the site with a helicopter, and despite having better gear than what most explorers can haul into the jungle in the traditional overland expedition, the group still experienced difficulties with, to name a few, sand fleas, torrential rain, and snakes.
Let me share a bit about one particular snake that kept turning up over and over again in the ruins of this civilization.
Herpetologists consider it the ultimate pit viper. It kills more people in the New World than any other snake. It comes out at night and is attracted to people and activity.
It is aggressive, irritable, and fast. Its fangs have been observed to squirt venom for more than six feet, and they can penetrate even the thickest leather boot.
Sometimes it will strike and then pursue and strike again. It often leaps upward as it strikes, hitting above the knee.
If you survive, the limb that was struck often has to be amputated, due to the necrotizing nature of the poison. So why did this civilization abruptly disappear at around ?
Preston pulls together some pretty good theories regarding that event. Some are based on the greed of the rulers doing to their civilization the same thing that the rich and powerful are currently doing to the United States.
Unmitigated greed makes even the most robust economies vulnerable to a similar collapse. The celebrated author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond, has some wonderful examples, and Preston shares that wisdom with us, as well.
It does not just kill people; it annihilates societies; it destroys languages, religions, histories, and cultures.
It chokes off the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next. The survivors are deprived of that vital human connection to their past; they are robbed of their stories, their music and dance, their spiritual practices and beliefs--they are stripped of their very identity.
It was unavoidable that the Old World would meet the New World, so it was just more a matter of when. The Monkey God expedition members returned to their regular life, relieved that they did not come down with any major diseases; the bites and rashes that they all suffered from disappeared, but then weeks later over half the group had a sore appear that would not heal.
It became a miniature volcano. After much deliberation by doctors and contagious disease specialists, they determined that they had come down with leishmaniasis.
Among the half that came down with this frankly disgusting and alarmingly difficult disease to contain was Douglas Preston. It is called white leprosy if that gives you any indication of what it does to the body once it gains enough control of your immune system.
The curse of the Monkey god? My signed copy of the book also came with a signed postcard of the author in the mosquitia jungle. Ephemeria is always fun for a collector.
I just finished reading The Lost City of Z, set in the Amazon, a few days ago, and it seemed a perfect pairing to read a similar book about another lost city further north in Central America.
Not to mention, even the thought of tangling with one of those damn Fer-De-Lance snakes makes me break out in hives.
I am a firm believer in doing my jungle travelling from the safety of my favorite reading chair. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: View all 32 comments.
People need history in order to know themselves, to build a sense of identity and pride, continuity, community, and hope for the future.
For the last years, rumors have flooded every major news outlet However, with the invention of new technology and a dogged determination, several explorers, architects and writers including the author set off to discov 3.
However, with the invention of new technology and a dogged determination, several explorers, architects and writers including the author set off to discover whether or not there's an entire undiscovered city hidden in Honduras in the 21st century.
But that journey was not easy, the artifact excavation was even more dangerous and the aftermath? Well, let's just say that there might be something to that death curse after all Overall - rather interesting book!
It had an Indiana Jones tone that certainly held my attention - I loved hearing about the peril and the danger and those snakes!
I wish the author would have given more page space to the city exploration. And I feel like the history lesson bit could have been edited to seem less dry.
Other than that - wow. To think that there are "old school adventures" still waiting to be had in the modern era. Audiobook Comments Read by Bill Mumy.
View all 8 comments. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story Written by: Douglas Preston Narrated by: Bill Mumy This was such an exciting audible book and filled with rich history and science.
Mr Preston starts the book with how he got started on this trip and all the investigations he had to do to get information on finding what he could.
He explained many trips that were tried and failed. I find this all fascinating. This was NOT a fiction book. Then the trip they make to South America takes a tremendous effort.
The trek is so dangerous and they almost die several times. When the finally make it back home and think they are safe, they find that over half the members had the deadly leishmaniasis!
He describes the problems of treatment and so much more. Wow, I learned so much from this book. This was just an exciting and captivating book.
I enjoyed this more than his fiction books. This was an audible book and the narrator was very clear and his voice was pleasant to listen to. View all 5 comments.
A non-ficton story about pre-history, history, and the lessons it teaches us about our potential mortality. A cautionary tale that we may have no control over; the fate of ancient civilizations may hint at our eventual fate as well.
Doulas Preston always impresses. I am a huge fan of his fiction work the Pendergast series with Lincoln Child and his detailed, but not so much that it is inaccessible, non-fiction.
Every time you enter either the real or made up world wi Fascinating and terrifying! Every time you enter either the real or made up world with Preston, you know he is going to make the mysterious real for you.
This book starts out with the search for a lost civilization in Honduras. Along the way, stories of deadly flora will convince you how scary nature can really be.
When the ancient ruins are revealed, it is not just a matter of exploring a long gone city or collecting artifacts — a mysterious terror is unleashed that will affect those on the expedition for the rest of their life.
What you find out is not for the faint of heart — especially because it is all true! I wonder how much he may have consulted him while writing this book?
I will close by saying that I thought this book was great. However, I hesitate to just randomly throw out recommendations since the terror that is unleashed may be too much for some!
View all 18 comments. For centuries Hondurans have told their children the myth of the Lost City of the Monkey God, but myths are often rooted in fact, and in the early Oughts cinematographer and inveterate searcher for lost cities Steve Elkins starts looking for it.
Preston begins his story with a briefing by an ex-soldier experienced in jungle trav For centuries Hondurans have told their children the myth of the Lost City of the Monkey God, but myths are often rooted in fact, and in the early Oughts cinematographer and inveterate searcher for lost cities Steve Elkins starts looking for it.
Preston begins his story with a briefing by an ex-soldier experienced in jungle travel who passes around a photo of someone on a previous expedition bitten by a fer-de-lance.
More cheery news of the local fauna follows in the way of mosquitoes and sand flies eager to pass on lovely diseases like malaria, dengue fever and the dread leishmaniasis.
Never heard of it? Me, either, and Preston, either, but he'll hear a lot more about it shortly. At the end of that first chapter he writes "I paid attention.
This book is simply packed with information on a dozen different topics, to begin with a history of archeology in Central and South America and worldwide, legal and not It must be said that, in general, if archaeologists refused on principle to work with governments known for corruption, most archaeology in the world would come to a halt; there could be no more archaeology in China, Russia, Egypt, Mexico, most of the Middle East, and many countries in Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.
I present this not as a justification or an apology, but as an observation on the reality of doing archaeology in a difficult world.
This is why the legend of the White City runs so deep in the Honduran national psyche: It's a direct connection to a pre-Columbian past that was rich, complex, and worthy of remembrance.
The rain forest has a lot of leaves, but the lidar confounds even that dense canopy and discovers the Lost City and maybe two just three days into the mapping process.
I could see Sartori's spiral-bound notebook lying open next to the laptop. In keeping with the methodical scientist he was, he had been jotting daily notes on his work.
But underneath the entry for May 5, he had written two words only: When I finished the book I immediately went on line to look at the expedition photos on National Geographic's website http: Preston is clearly a man in love Once again I had the strong feeling, when flying into the valley, that I was leaving the twenty-first century entirely.
A precipitous ridge loomed ahead, marking the southern boundary of T1. The pilot headed for a V notch in it. When we cleared the gap, the valley opened up in a rolling landscape of emerald and gold, dappled with the drifting shadows of clouds.
The two sinuous rivers ran through it, clear and bright, the sunlight flashing off their riffled waters as the chopper banked Towering rainforest trees, draped in vines and flowers, carpeted the hills, giving way to sunny glades along the riverbanks.
Flocks of egrets flew below, white dots drifting against the green, and the treetops thrashed with the movement of unseen monkeys.
I'm glad he's that good a writer because the only way I want to experience this place is through his prose and the photos, thanks. I certainly would never even attempt to keep up with Chris Fisher or Dave Yoder in the jungle, that's for sure.
And then there is leishmaniasis, a ghastly disease which infects Preston and half of the expedition. It's like cancer in that the cure is as bad as the disease and as of writing the book Preston's has recurred.
In even cheerier news, due to the enabling offices of climate change leishmaniasis is steadily making its way north, occurring now in Texas and Oklahoma.
Although Americans dying of it may be the only way to get the drug companies working on a cure, because why bother if it's only killing poor people in the Third World?
I mean that's no way to make money. But the leishmaniusis gives him the final clue to perhaps solve the puzzle: Where did the people of the Lost City go?
And why did they leave and, especially, when? Impossible to recommend this book highly enough. View all 6 comments. My jungle terrors continue!
This is the second book I've read this summer about how deadly the jungle can be, and if I read any more I'll need a Xanax. Douglas Preston was reporting on the search for the ruins of an ancient civilization, nicknamed the White City, or the Lost City of the Monkey God.
In , researchers used technology called LIDAR to scan the interior, and when they found potential e My jungle terrors continue!
In , researchers used technology called LIDAR to scan the interior, and when they found potential evidence, Preston was part of the group that went deep into the jungle to investigate.
I am terrified of snakes and this book made me so twitchy and jumpy that I became certain there was a rogue python hiding under my dishwasher I've seen too many news stories, I know.
But seriously, there are a lot of snake stories in this book. I'd break the book down like this: The other 10 percent consists of scary tales about flying in and out of the jungle.
I loved the history and archaeology discussions, and I was interested in the theories about why the mysterious civilization may have been abandoned a thousand years ago.
There is also an alarming section on the spread of diseases, because several members of the crew got sick from a parasite.
Really, the whole book is fascinating. Despite my jungle fears, this was a nice follow-up to The Lost City of Z by David Grann, which was about the search for an ancient civilization in the Amazon.
I highly recommend both books, but I'm going to take a break from jungle stories for a while. Meaningful Passage [On Preston's first night in the jungle he spotted a giant venomous snake that one of the crew members wrestled with and killed.
The jungle, reverberating with sound, was much noisier than in the daytime. Several times I heard large animals moving past me in the darkness, blundering clumsily through undergrowth, crackling twigs.
I lay in the dark, listening to the cacophony of life, thinking about the lethal perfection of the snake and its natural dignity, sorry for what we had done but rattled by the close call.
A bite from a snake like that, if you survived at all, would be a life-altering experience. In a strange way the encounter sharpened the experience of being here.
It amazed me that a valley so primeval and unspoiled could still exist in the twenty-first century. It was truly a lost world, a place that did not want us and where we did not belong.
We planned to enter the ruins the following day. What would we find? I couldn't even begin to imagine it.
View all 11 comments. Most of the events in this book happened relatively recently, and although it makes the book feel slightly more relevant, it also feels like the book was very hastily written - it's kind of a rambling mess.
This book is not really actually about the "Lost City of the Monkey God. Which still sounds like it might be interesting, but actually turns out to be like watching a slow survivalist show on TV, interspersed with periods of fumbling amateur descriptions of artifacts and academic theories.
At points, the author also mentions people critical of the narrative of this team "discovering" the "Lost City of the Monkey God," e.
Instead of acknowledging these issues, the author is infuriatingly defensive and navel-gazing about it all.
Really, I'm really not sure why this book is getting so much positive press. Are people actually reading it?
I'd really love to read about the culture and the excavation of the site from an anthropologist's perspective, or really anyone who knows what they're talking about.
I learned that people actually get hurt on survivalist shows like Bear Grylls's. It's not all fake!
As a longtime fan of the Pendergast series that Douglas Preston writes together with Lincoln Child was I curious to read this non-fiction book about a lost city.
Personally, I find mysteries like this very intriguing. I mean a lost city that is mentioned in old documents, but no one has found?
What's not to like? And, what makes this book so fantastic is that Douglas Preston himself was part of the expedition to what could be White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God.
A place where no one ha As a longtime fan of the Pendergast series that Douglas Preston writes together with Lincoln Child was I curious to read this non-fiction book about a lost city.
A place where no one has been for centuries, a place with a lot of deadly creatures like the deadly fer-de-lance, one of the most deadly snakes on the planet.
The Lost City of the Monkey God captivated me from the beginning, Preston has written a well-researched book, which gives the reader both the historical background as well as the impressions from the expedition.
I always love books that are entertaining and learning as well, and Preston has managed that. The only thing I found a bit dreary was the technical descriptions of the equipment that they used to pinpoint the city, but I got the gist and that was enough for me.
I'm just not that interested in technical things so stuff like that always makes me a bit bored. But, I fully understand the need for it to be included in the story.
Especially since it pissed off archaeologists who think that it's cheating to use lidar to find lost cities. I loved that part of the story, how petty some archaeologists were.
As much as I enjoyed reading the historical background must I admit that reading about the expedition, how they were the first ones there were very thrilling.
I could easily picture the scenery and I found the discovery of the city and artifacts fascinating. Although I'm not sure I would want to travel there with all the bugs and deadly snakes.
The Lost City of the Monkey God was a truly great book. I loved learning more about the history of Honduras and it made me sad to think how the Europeans arrival pretty much killed off most of the natives all over America thanks to the sickness they brought with them.
Douglas Preston's account of his adventure to La Mosquitia an unexplored, uninhabited region of forest in the Honduran wilderness in search of the Lost City of the Money Gods.
Since the days of conquistador Hernan Cortes, rumours 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 tribe's folklore warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. A journalist by the name of Theodore Morde returned in from the rainforest with hundreds of artefacts and an incredible story of having found the city of the monkey Gods but died before revealing its exact location.
In the Author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists along with a new machine that would change everything: I really enjoyed this book and the trials and discoveries of the team of adventurers.
Books like these are different and I enjoy learning about undiscovered sites, the rain forest and its inhabitants of monkeys, snakes and insects but its certainly a place I don't intend visiting after reading this account.
These previously unexplored sites are now in danger of looting, deforestation and tourism and a debate on how to explore and protect them can be daunting for all concerned.
I read this on Kindle and there were quire a few pictures at the end of the book but am sure the quality would be much better with a hard copy.
An interesting and informative book that I really enjoyed and I will be keeping this site on my radar as the exploration is on-going and I am sure we will hear more from The City of the Monkey Gods and Doug Preston.
View all 4 comments. Mar 26, J. Preston begins by offering historical research of an earlier search for the city which, despite the hype, probably never located the city and might not have even been looking for it.
However, comparing his expedition with the one 80 or so years earlier allows him to discuss scientific advan In The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston presents an engaging account of an expedition setting out to re discover a lost city in the jungles of Honduras the White City or City of the Monkey God.
However, comparing his expedition with the one 80 or so years earlier allows him to discuss scientific advancements especially of lidar which will revolutionize the field.
Despite any advancements, adventure and danger go hand-in-hand during Preston's expedition. That danger doesn't seem to be ill-founded.
The expedition had to overcome impenetrable jungle, quickmud, one of the world's most aggressive and deadly snakes, the fer-de-lance, and disease carrying insects.
In fact, tropical disease strikes most of those in the expedition something they don't realize until they're back in their home countries.
Identifying and treating the disease they have contracted becomes another mystery to solve; this mystery and discussion of the disease dominates the final sections of the book.
Over the years many explorers tried to find the White City. Some never came back, others returned in defeat, and some were charl 4.
Some never came back, others returned in defeat, and some were charlatans - pretending to explore while they searched for gold. Obstacles to success included ignorance of the city's exact location, impassable jungles, venomous snakes, biting and stinging insects, jaguars, and - in recent times - narcotraficantes drug cartels.
Elkins was thrilled with the results, and arranged an expedition into the jungle in Elkins' team included himself, a photographer, an archaeologist, an anthropologist, filmmakers, a squad of Honduran soldiers, pilots, technicians, a jungle safety expert, and others.
This time, Preston was assigned to pen an article for National Geographic Magazine. In this book, Preston writes about the search for the White City The entire escapade into La Mosquitia was dangerous and difficult, starting with preparing landing sites for the team's helicopters.
This was followed by setting up camping areas, hacking through the impenetrable jungle with machetes, wading across rivers, hiking up hills, sliding down hills, encountering snakes, being bitten by insects and spiders, and so on.
In addition, the team members were continually soaked and muddy, had trouble keeping a fire lit in the wet jungle, and subsisted largely on MREs freeze-dried meals.
Preston describes his first campsite, where he set up his hammock under a tree inhabited by squawking spider monkeys - who didn't want him there.
When the author stepped out the first night - to relieve himself - the ground was writhing with a carpet of rainforest cockroaches. When I lived in a tent for six weeks for geology field camp, I learned not to drink anything after 6: Ha ha ha Preston also tells a memorable story about encountering a six-foot-long, venomous fer-de-lance near his camping area.
The writer summoned the jungle safety expert, Andrew Wood, who decapitated the snake after it squirted his hand with burning venom.
Wood had to wash his hand immediately The expedition carried antivenom shots, just in case. Even more ominously, Preston's tent was invaded by tiny sandflies night after night, which he took to skewering on one of his notebooks - a ledger that became so damaged he had to throw it away.
Unfortunately the writer - and other members of the expedition - were repeatedly bitten by the little critters, which had dire consequences later on.
Though there were hardships, the team members were able to make their way to T-1, where they found a treasure trove of pre-Columbian remains, including asymmetrical mounds and a large cache of almost buried artifacts.
These artifacts include beautiful stone bowls and carved stone figures, some of which have half-human, half-monkey features.
One striking statuette resembled a jaguar - which led to the site being called 'The City of the Jaguar. By now, extensive studies are under way.
In an article about the expedition, Colorado State University anthropologist Dr. Chris Fischer - who was a member of Elkins' team - notes: One of the nearby sites has two parallel mounds that may be the remains of a Mesoamerican ball court similar to those left by the Maya civilization, indicating a link between this culture and its powerful neighbors to the west and north.
The ballgame was a sacred ritual While the City of the Jaguar is spectacularly isolated now, at its heyday it was probably a center of trade and commerce.
Why was it abandoned? No one knows for sure but Preston suggests that infectious diseases decimated the population. It's well known that European explorers brought deadly illnesses, like flu, measles, and smallpox, to the New World.
The native people, having no resistance, died in droves It's possible that most residents of the 'T-sites' died, and the remaining occupants - thinking their gods had forsaken them - just walked away from their homes.
Another illness may also have contributed to the ancient carnage. Months after Preston returned home, he noticed a 'bug bite' that refused to heal.
The author came to learn that he and many other members of the trip had contracted leishmaniasis, a flesh-eating disease caused by a protozoan parasite that's transmitted by sandflies.
Left untreated, leishmaniasis can cause skin ulcers; mouth and nose ulcers; and damage to internal organs. In the worst cases, the disease eats away the nose and mouth, causing horrible disfiguration.
Luckily, Preston responded to treatment -which is harsh, and can take a long time. The disease didn't stop Preston from returning to T-1 for one more visit, however, during which he lamented the inevitable changes caused by official visitors, scientists, and the military - who protect the site from looters and narcotraficantes.
In addition to detailing the recent visits to La Mosquitia, Preston tells stories about early explorers to the New World; native peoples of the region; disease germs brought to the Americas by sick sailors; fortune hunters looking for the White City; the current President of Honduras - who's all for archaeological and anthropological exploration; Elkins' efforts to finance his expeditions and films; the author's and his colleagues' struggles with leishmaniasis; and more.
I liked all the stories and enjoyed the book, which I highly recommend to readers interested in the topic. You can follow my reviews at https: Who knew that there were so many civilizations in the Northern Hemisphere, The Lost City of the Monkey God takes us deep into the Mosquitia region of the Gracias a Dios Department in eastern Honduras, where the legendary "White City" supposedly existed.
Lidar is able to map the ground even through dense rain forest, delineating any archaeological features that might be present.
What they found was a huge city. Was it the legendary "White City"? What ensues is the physical search of the area. If you have read any books on entering tropical rain forests you know they are fraught with dangers, while I appreciate the amount of time, effort and money invested in this project I am not wholly convinced that it is the riveting tale we are lead to believe we are getting.
It is more a long version of the National Geographic article. From here Preston, takes off on a tangent about how those in the archaeology of Central America community attacked their expedition because Elkins billed it as finding the LOST "White City" which they archaeologist believe is a myth.
The last part of the book is about Leishmaniasis, the disease that Preston and many of his fellow crew members caught. It was interesting to learn what treatment they went through to contain the disease.
Preston then goes on to speculate that the people of the city they found where wiped out by some disease that occurred during the contact period with explorers.
There is nothing to back this up. I read this book because Dana Stabenow rated with 5 stars and provided a rave review. I was not so impressed.
This review was originally posted on The Pfaeffle Journal Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
It's no secret that I love Douglas Preston. I've read and reread his co-authored Special Agent Pendergast series multiple times.
I've worked with the publishers for the past few years for ARCs of that series and interviewed Mr. Preston and Lincoln Child, his Pendergast co-author.
I've read pretty much everything they've both ever written, with a few things still remaining on my to-read p Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I've read pretty much everything they've both ever written, with a few things still remaining on my to-read pile.
I also love adventure stories. Lost temples, jungle treks, scary wildlife, special teams going in to discover the past I subscribe to Preston's email newsletters, and I was aware of his long-term interest in the lost White City of Honduras.
I paid attention when they used the lidar to map some potential locations of this city in the Honduran jungles, and gobbled up details when they set out on their expedition.
This book provides Preston's account of his take on the whole scenario -- from the history of the search for the lost city, to his actual involvement, to the aftereffects of that fateful journey.
It's a solid read, which I expect from Preston, who is a fantastic writer. My biggest gripe is the end.
I know it's a non-fiction weaving of historical detail into modern day adventure memoir, but the last few chapters focus solely on the deadly and scary disease that affects much of the third world, and hit many of the explorers.
It turns from a lesson on the White City and a recording of the adventure into a public service notice about the future of the disease and the need for treatments to be researched and available to all, not only because the disease is quickly passing from third world into first world, but mostly because of the millions of people it affects and the tens of thousands it kills on a yearly basis in the third world, where they have no financial ability to pay for treatment and big pharm sees no profit in it.
Don't get me wrong -- I entirely agree with Preston's views on the subject. I think my problem was that the book was about the adventure into what might have been the source for the legends of the Lost City of the Monkey God, so rather than ending on the disease chapters, those could have been put into the middle and the ending been something more suited to the adventurous side of the tale and how much more we have to learn from the past.
Just my opinion, but that's what reviews are. Either way, I read very little non-fiction, and this book kept my focus and my attention, and showcases Preston's strong talents.
You should really take the opportunity to follow in Preston and team's footsteps into the jungles of Honduras.
Just watch out for the venomous and aggressive fer-de-lance snakes and the leish-transmitting sandflies Lucky for you, you're safe on your couch.
A True Story is not my normal cuppa, but came to me highly recommended. I'm glad that I reserved the audio at my library.
I enjoyed this story, but was slightly disappointed at the time spent actually exploring. The beginning of the book goes into previous expeditions to areas near this city and the problems faced due to the fact that Honduras can be a very dangerous country.
Not only due to the insects, snakes and other poisonous creatures, but also because of The Lost City of the Monkey God: Not only due to the insects, snakes and other poisonous creatures, but also because of drug cartels.
The brief portion that involved the actual exploration was fascinating. Imagine going into an area completely untouched by mankind in hundred years.
However, the actuality of exploring such an area means exposing oneself to thousands of dangers from extremely deep mud, insects of all kinds, snakes and even jaguars, to name just a few.
There was another brief section talking about the problems with other archaeologists and academia throwing shade on this expedition, some of them doing so with no REAL knowledge of what went on, how LIDAR worked and what was found.
Lastly, and the part I found most interesting, was what happened to many of the explorers after they got home and that is: This is a disease, actually many diseases and symptoms, grouped under one name , which is mainly carried by tiny sand flies.
The havoc this disease can wreak is almost unbelievable. This led to another section of the book which spoke about new world diseases and how they affected the Americas.
There is talk of how some of the early civilizations disappeared and how that may have been caused by parasites and diseases.
I found all of this fascinating but extremely scary. Most especially when it was mentioned that cases of Leish have now been found in Texas and the speculation about how that is because sand flies are moving northward due to climate change.
What I found most surprising is that many of the explorers that were diagnosed and treated for Leish, jumped at the chance to go back to the site.
I enjoyed this book and I learned a lot about Honduras and its history. I recommend The Lost City of the Monkey God to anyone interested in learning more about Honduras, the city and the history of the world, in general.
It was reputed to be a city of immense wealth. Indigenous tribes warned that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die.
There have been many stories about sightings of this lost city. Some of these outright hoaxes. None have proven it's existence.
In the twentieth century there were several expeditions to locate this lost city. Probably the most famous being an expedition led by Theodore Morde in He returned with thousands of artifacts to back his claim of having discovered the city but committed suicide and never revealed it's location.
Using an advanced laser-imaging technology called LIDAR they were able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy to detect man-made anomalies at two locations.
Flying in a rickety plane, Vietnam era helicopters, sleeping in a jungle infested with venomous snakes and disease carrying insects. They had returned from the first expedition thinking they were lucky to have all survived only to discover later that half of them had contracted a horrific, sometimes lethal, and incurable disease.
There is a bit of history and politics here too. I had heard stories about the impact when the Old World and New World collided and how disease wiped out many of the indigenous tribes.
This book reminded me of how devastating it was. There was the difficulty of dealing with the seeming ever changing Honduran government and obtaining permits.
Then there were the problems with the academic community which labeled the expedition as adventurers and treasure hunters.
The book ends with a warning about climate change and the increased danger of pandemics as the world is shrinking and a disease is only a plane ride away from any civilization.