Sunday, August 1, 2010

Two By David Grann

David Grann is a writer for The New Yorker. I like his work a lot. Here are a couple worthy reads:

  • The Mark of a Masterpiece” is a New Yorker piece about the world of art authentication: the people and processes that determine whether an old painting is a lost Leonardo or a worthless pretender. The difference may only be discernible by a small group of self-appointed experts—art historians, scientists, and others aspirants—who don’t necessarily agree. With millions of dollars riding on some judgments, the field is rife with intrigue, so much so that Grann’s survey evolves into a real-world detective story. By magazine standards, it’s a long read (maybe an hour’s worth), but it has the richness of an entire book.
  • The Lost City of Z is about a British explorer’s quest for the ruins of “Z,” an Atlantis of the Amazon. Circa the early 1900s, Percy Fawcett had superhuman survival abilities in uncharted jungles that routinely claimed those who entered. Yet even he eventually disappeared, searching for Z. Almost one hundred years later, Grann follows Fawcett’s life path, culminating in Grann’s own Amazonian search for Z and Fawcett’s fate. The book’s preface is here, so sample away.

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