Douglas Preston The Lost City of the Monkey God

Last updated date: June 17, 2019

DWYM Score
9.0

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We looked at the top 1 Non-Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including Good Reads, Kirkus Reviews, Book Reporter, Book Page, USA Today, The Washington Times, Mojo Fiction, The Reading Bud, Eyes on Broadway and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Non-Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 87 expert reviews, the Douglas Preston Douglas Preston The Lost City of the Monkey God placed 10th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best Non-Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top non-fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
9.1
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
1,835 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary—trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner.
- Kirkus Reviews
October 20, 2016 | Full review
This story, although completely true, often reads like a page-turning thriller as Preston and the team come upon obstacle after obstacle along with a bunch of startling revelations.
- Book Reporter
January 4, 2017 | Full review
The Lost City of the Monkey God is more than just an adventure story. It examines such modern issues as the ethics of archeological expeditions, man’s destruction of the rainforest and the incessant creep of technology and its effects on indigenous peoples.
- Book Page
January 1, 2017 | Full review
Spectacle aside, this book depicts an ambitious expedition that clearly has advanced understanding of an ancient and little-known culture.
- USA Today
January 2, 2017 | Full review
This time, the subject matter is equally compelling - an ancient and sacred city in Honduras known as the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. For generations, indigenous people passed along stories of ancestors who fled there to escape Spanish invaders and that anyone who enters would get sick and die.
- The Washington Times
January 4, 2017 | Full review
Somehow, Mr. Preston is able to put all of this together into a fascinating true story. It’s not Indiana Jones, and the discovery doesn’t change the world. But by giving real meaning to the discoveries made by the expedition, the author illuminates both the past and our future: where we’ve been as a species, how we got where we are, and the dangerous end we find ourselves hurtling towards.
- Mojo Fiction
November 19, 2018 | Full review
The book started out so good that I was immediately pulled into the story. It was an exciting and a thoroughly entertaining read and I enjoyed reading every bit of it! This is the first time that I’ve read a true-adventure story and, surprisingly, this book absolutely blew my mind!
- The Reading Bud
April 1, 2017 | Full review
Via satellite imagery, which helped narrow down potential locations, and later, the use of Lidar, a foilage and ground-penetrating mapping technology that is done through aerial survery, certain hot spots were identified by a remarkable crew of researchers, scientists and, yes, Douglas Preston. Well, the story goes on...and I'm not one to be a spoiler. The one thing I can guarantee is that you will be riveted from the start.
- Eyes on Broadway
May 7, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
One complaint is the splashy language used to describe its findings — with the book’s title being exhibit A.
- USA Today
January 2, 2017 | Full review
The only problem I had (and the reason why I dropped my rating from 5 to 4 stars) is that the last 2-3 chapters were a bit of a slog. They were interesting and informative, but they had a lot of stuff that bounced right off my head and left me skimming over paragraphs.
- The Reading Bud
April 1, 2017 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

In 2012, author Douglas Preston joined a team of explorers searching for Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”), a legendary ruin hidden in the dense jungle of eastern Honduras. To this point the city – also known as “the Lost City of the Monkey God” - was literally a legend; while various hucksters and hoaxers had claimed to have discovered the abandoned metropolis, no credible evidence had ever been presented, and its very existence remained shrouded in doubt. In addition to the objective hazards of tropical disease, wild boars, and the deadly fer-de-lance viper, locals stoked the mystique, describing various curses awaiting would-be discoverers. Don’t pick the flowers, or you’ll die. But this team had an advantage that previous searchers had lacked: LIDAR, an advanced laser-imaging technology able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy – just enough – and return detailed elevation profiles from which subtle, man-made anomalies could be identified. Almost immediately, two major sites emerged, their scale and architecture indicating a civilization to rival another local, more famous power, the Maya. The announcement had consequences. The fledgling Honduran government, having gained power through a military coup, sought to use the discovery to bolster its status with the population, while the academic community ripped the expedition with accusations of Indiana Jones-style exploitation and shoddy scientific methods, cries which could be uncharitably interpreted as sour grapes. Encroaching deforestation and the prospect of looters created urgency to conduct a ground survey, and the team ventured into the wilderness and all the hazards that awaited, including an unexpected and insidious danger that cursed the team well beyond their return home. The author of over 30 books, including number of bestselling thrillers co-written with Lincoln Child, Preston knows pace, and he packs several narratives into a taut 300 pages. Indiana Jones criticism aside, the story of the discovery and exploration of the ruin is solid adventure writing, and he walks a fine line in dealing with the archaeology community’s response, reporting on the bases for their criticism where they chose to provide it. And by invoking Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Preston speculates on the mysterious, sudden demise of the White City and its inhabitants, drawing ominous parallels between their fate and possibly our own. Lost City is a tale that manages to be both fun and harrowing, a vicarious thrill worthy of a place on the shelf next to David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. --Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Tara Westover Educated: A Memoir
Overall Score: 9.9
Expert Reviews: 10
2. David Grann Killers of the Flower Moon
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Dalai Lama The Book of Joy
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 8
4. Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Timothy Egan The Worst Hard Time
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Regina Calcaterra Etched in Sand
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Jimmy Wayne / Ken Abraham: Walk to Beautiful
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 4
10. Douglas Preston The Lost City of the Monkey God
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Non-Fiction Books

  • Before breaking into the world of non-fiction novels, decide what sub-genre you are most interested in reading about. This will help narrow down your search in this broad genre.
  • Talk to a librarian about any new authors that are getting great reviews. They will have first-hand feedback from readers of those novels.
  • Use the resources at your fingertips, such as the internet, to research. There are plenty of websites that offer book reviews. So utilize them and find a great non-fiction novel to get started reading today.
  • If you are taking a college course and want supporting documentation on a topic you are learning about, the non-fiction novels will definitely add some dimension to your education.

DYWM Fun Fact

  • The psychology niche offers non-fiction readers outrageous and factual stories, such as “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Trials” by Oliver Sacks.
  • “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote was supposedly the very first non-fiction novel ever written.
  • Among the top 100 most popular non-fiction books are “The History of the World” by Walter Raleigh, “Common Sense” by Tom Paine, “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin and “Tales from Shakespeare” by Charles and Mary Lamb.
  • Another term for non-fiction novels is literary non-fiction.
  • Non-fiction does not discriminate by age or ethnicity. Every age can read and enjoy a book from the non-fiction genre. These days, non-fiction novels are becoming increasingly incorporated into education and the lives of young adults.
  • Good Sense Reading offers a list of age-classified, non-fiction books for parents to utilize on their website.

The Non-Fiction Book Buying Guide

There’s nothing better than a great book. Some prefer an imaginative story or fiction book while others thrive on non-fiction, factual storylines that tell us of real events. The non-fiction genres offer readers an incredible glimpse into the lifestyles and characters of actual people but often written with a dramatic flair. Truman Capote, the author of “In Cold Blood,” was said to have started this genre in 1965 when the novel was published (although, this is often not believed since there are several other non-fiction novels published previous to this date). There are countless sub-genres within the non-fiction novel genre, so be sure to check them all out before making your purchase.

There are quite a few ways that authors have approached non-fiction novels. Although the characters are real people and most of the facts are actual, there can be some imaginative writing in between, especially in conversations and such. The other approach is packed with all facts and strictly to the point, so the reader doesn’t have to guess what is factual versus imaginative. Both are interesting reads; however, you’ll have to decide for yourself which is most captivating.

Perhaps one of the most well-known sub-genres of non-fiction novels is a memoir or autobiography. Most have read a memoir in part, if not in entirety, during their school years. Memoirs are perhaps the most accurate works you will find in the genre since they are narrated by the individual themselves. In the autobiography, “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover, readers will get an entire picture of a woman overcoming her lack of primary education and isolation when she enters the intimidating realm of college. Another incredible memoir is “Etched in Sand” by Regina Calcaterra. She relives her abusive childhood in this autobiography to show readers that you can not only survive but overcome trials and tribulations that befall you at a young age. The autobiography sub-genre offers people the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes and relive the experiences that shaped them. If you are a fact seeker, autobiographies will give you the most accurate account of a person’s life.

Within the sub-genre of autobiography, readers will find many narratives of famous people. If you are interested in pop culture and would like to learn more about how people rise to fame, this category is right up your alley. The book, “Walk to Beautiful” by musician Jimmy Wayne is one of the best non-fiction novels out there. He discusses the difficulties of being poor and the disorganization of the broken foster care system, based on his personal life experiences. A perfect combination of reality and fame come together in this category.

For a thriller-type read, the true crime sub-genre is where you’ll want to look for a book. This category is typically packed with mystery, violence, law and forensics — all based on actual events. The novels are usually embellished with creative writing here and there, but the main storyline is factual and true to the real events. In the book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann, you will find the retelling of the murders of several people in the wealthy community of Osage Nation in Oklahoma. You will find all the thrills in this non-fiction novel along with an accurate depiction of events around the murders. True crime non-fiction books are just the thing if you want to learn more about a specific historical crime.

There are countless other categories in the non-fiction novel genre. They have so much to offer from education to insight and instructions. Non-fiction educational options typically involve history books, science stories, psychology novels and literary novels. Whenever you want to travel, you will surely pick up a travel novel, and same with self-help. If you want to learn about sports, you’ll find facts stick with you when you read a non-fiction novel based on that sport. Technology, house and garden and social science are even more categories you’ll discover when you delve into non-fiction novels, and you won’t find a better way to learn and get inspired than through the books within this genre.

No matter what your walk of life is, non-fiction novels will give you the tools you need to constantly be improving yourself, increasing your knowledge and learning with a multi-faceted approach. Non-fiction novels of all categories should be a staple in every home.