No stranger to American pre-history and legend, Von Hagen here guides us along the journeys of various 16th century adventurers -- Nicolas Federmann, Ambrosius Dalfinger, Georg Hohermuth, Ralegh -- who set out in search of El Dorado, The Golden Man. ""Calculated lunacy"" the author calls it. And surely it was. Although each quest failed, it was followed by another. . . . What, however, was the fuel for this European-born insatiability, which mixed murder with wonder and eventually cost Ralegh his head? Von Hagen suggests a surplus of folly but he goes no further. He describes a tribal chieftain smeared with resin and gold dust, at once symbol and fuel for Spanish, Dutch, English myth, yet he does not take us into the heart of European imagination, does not show us how the Occidental mind made shamanism into gold fever. This is a highly readable synthesis of previous works, it is full of illustrations, maps, photographs (of talismans, pendants, etc.) but nothing here is really new.