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The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes [Hardcover]

Scott Wallace
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Nov 2011

Even today there remain tribes in the far reaches of the Amazon rainforest that have avoided contact with modern civilization. Deliberately hiding from the outside world, they are the unconquered, the last survivors of an ancient culture that predates the arrival of Columbus in the New World.  In this gripping first-person account of adventure and survival, author Scott Wallace chronicles an expedition into the Amazon’s uncharted depths, discovering the rainforest’s secrets while moving ever closer to a possible encounter with one such tribe—the mysterious flecheiros, or “People of the Arrow,” seldom-glimpsed warriors known to repulse all intruders with showers of deadly arrows. On assignment for National Geographic, Wallace joins Brazilian explorer Sydney Possuelo at the head of a thirty-four-man team that ventures deep into the unknown in search of the tribe. Possuelo’s mission is to protect the Arrow People. But the information he needs to do so can only be gleaned by entering a world of permanent twilight beneath the forest canopy.

Danger lurks at every step as the expedition seeks out the Arrow People even while trying to avoid them. Along the way, Wallace uncovers clues as to who the Arrow People might be, how they have managed to endure as one of the last unconquered tribes, and why so much about them must remain shrouded in mystery if they are to survive. Laced with lessons from anthropology and the Amazon’s own convulsed history, and boasting a Conradian cast of unforgettable characters—all driven by a passion to preserve the wild, but also wracked by fear, suspicion, and the desperate need to make it home alive—The Unconquered reveals this critical battleground in the fight to save the planet as it has rarely been seen, wrapped in a page-turning tale of adventure.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, Division of Random House Inc; First Edition First Printing edition (15 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030746296X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307462961
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 599,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Wallace is an award-winning writer and photojournalist whose assignments have taken him from clandestine arms bazaars in post-Soviet Russia to midnight raids on fedayeen hideouts in the slums of Baghdad. A former correspondent in Central America for the Guardian, the Independent, CBS News, and Newsweek, Wallace is a frequent contributor to National Geographic, Smithsonian, and other publications. His writings on armed conflict, the environment, and vanishing cultures have also appeared in Harper's, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, the Village Voice, and Sports Afield. His photography has been featured in National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and Outside, among many others, and his television producing credits include CBS, CNN, and National Geographic Channel. He is a recipient of the Explorers Club's prestigious Lowell Thomas Award for excellence in reporting from the field. He has three sons and lives in Washington, DC.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book ....... 4 Jan 2012
I was so excited when I quite accidentally came across this book whilst reserching something on Wikipedia. The book details the journey of an expedition to identify the area used and hunted by uncontacted indians in the Brazillian Amazon. It was NOT, and the author is very clear about this, not an expedition to make contact with these people. The book details some historical, sociological and ethnological background; but not as much as I would personally have liked.

The author clearly details the expedition, the dangers, the environment, the wildlife, the fears, anxieties and hopes of the expedition members. I did get a real sense of the physical and emotional journey - perhaps too much than I personally would have liked. I enjoyed the authors descriptions of various expedition members, that really gave them some identity. The book flows well and is well written.

To my mind though it read like an elongated National Geographic article: i.e. not much was covered in any depth, more a diary converted into a book. Not that there is anything wrong with this, it just did not appeal to me. Perhaps I was looking for a contemporary 'The Tribe That Hides From Man' by Adrian Cowell - which I probably should not have. I fully understand why most readers gave the book 4 or 5 Star Ratings. I'm very happy to recommend this book, but doubt I'll re-read it any time soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written informative travel adventure 25 Oct 2011
By Niki Collins-queen, Author TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
There are two stories in Scott Wallace's "The Unconquered: In search of the Amazon's last Uncontacted Tribes." The first story is the National Geographic adventure journalist's gripping first-person account of adventure and survival in the deepest recesses of the Amazon jungle. Wallace follows a 34-man team lead by Sydney Possuelo, the President of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) through the seldom explored Javari Valley of the Amazon's rain forest for three months to track the much feared Indian tribe known as "The People of the Arrow" without making contact. The second story illuminates the complex issues surrounding indigenous tribes in the Amazon and their relevance to us all.
Possuelo had previously been an agent of contact who wooed Indians from the forest with gifts and friendship to cushion the blow of civilization's inevitable arrival. He experienced a change of heart in midcareer when he repeatedly watched Indians succumb to disease, death and despair in the wake of the contact he had initiated. Having evolved in isolation indigenous tribes have no resistance to New World germs.
Possuelo started Brazil's "no-contact" policy when he created the Department of Isolated Indians within FUNAI in the late 1980s. His efforts on behalf of indigenous tribes began to command world-wide attention. Time hailed him as "Hero of the Planet" and he was given awards and grants from a number of European countries. To leverage his renown into more financial support he began fact-finding missions to demonstrate that the policies he fought so hard to enact were working and that the tribes were thriving in isolation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Big Read... 18 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There's something oddly addictive about books on exploration and survival in the Amazon jungle. After reading David Grann's mesmerising 'The Lost City of Z', followed by two of Penguin's admirable 'Great Journeys' series by the Victorian zoologist Walter Henry Bates and German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt, I settled into journalist Scott Wallace's record of a journey to find - but make no contact with - a lost tribe of South American indians known as Los Flecheiros, the Arrow People, the 'unconquered' of the book's title. Commissioned by National Geographic magazine, Wallace joined Brazilian explorer and Indian protectionist, Sydney Possuelo, on a three-month, 34-man trek into the heart of the Javari Valley, his first-person account a gripping chronicle of the dangers (snakes, piranhas, caymans, fire ants and vampire bats) and the daily discomforts (mud, mosquitoes and meagre rations) of Amazon exploration. With its cast of colourful and determined characters pushed to their limits, and its discomforting examination of the politics of preserving the integrity of the jungle and its undiscovered people, this is a thought-provoking adventure story that's easy to read and hard to put down.
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