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Author of “The Unconquered” to speak at Ozarks on March 8

February 8, 2012
By cnp
Posted in Community Events

Clarksville, Ark. --- Author Scott Wallace, whose recent book "The Unconquered" tells the extraordinary tale of a journey into the deepest recesses of the Amazon to track one of the planet's last uncontacted indigenous tribes, will talk about his adventure at University of the Ozarks at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 8, in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

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Author Scott Wallace will be on campus in March to talk about the experiences that resulted in his recently released book, "The Unconquered."

The multimedia presentation, which is part of the University’s 2011-2012 Walton Arts & Ideas Series, is free and open to the public.

The Washington D.C.-based Wallace is a writer, photographer and broadcast journalist who has covered the environment, indigenous peoples and armed conflicts in some of the world’s most remote places over the past three decades.

In The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes, Wallace follows a 34-man team into the Amazon’s uncharted depths, discovering the rainforest’s secrets while moving ever closer to a possible encounter with the mysterious flecheiros - or "people of the arrow" - a seldom-glimpsed tribe of deft archers known to defend their lands with showers of deadly arrows before melting back into the forest shadows. The arrow people are among an estimated 5,000-10,000 remaining uncontacted indigenous people who inhabit the Javari lands on the western edge of Brazil, where the Amazon rainforest meets the Andes Mountain range. The tribe’s ethnic roots, language, and cultural customs remain largely unknown to the outside world.

In this gripping first-person account of adventure and survival, the author joins the brooding and charismatic explorer Sydney Possuelo on a quixotic mission: penetrate the jungle redoubts of the arrow people, gather crucial information about them, and return to civilization without contacting the tribe. As head of Brazil’s Department of Isolated Indians, Possuelo seeks to protect the arrow people and their rainforest homeland from the ravages of the advancing frontier. But the information he needs to safeguard them can only be gleaned by entering a world of darkness and danger beneath the forest canopy, to seek out the untamed tribesmen while at the same time trying to avoid them. Laced with lessons from anthropology and the sweep of history, and boasting a Conradian cast of unforgettable characters, "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.

Candice Miller, author of The River of Doubt, said The Unconquered "is not only a riveting story ? crowded with vivid detail and heart-stopping moments ? but a first-hand account of a rare and critically important expedition. Wallace and the men with whom he traveled risked their lives navigating the territory of the flecheiros, one of the most isolated and dangerous tribes in the Amazon. The story Wallace returned with will keep you up at night." Scott Anderson, author of Triage, said Wallace’s book "ranks among the very best of modern adventure stories, even more so for the profound questions about man and nature that it explores."

Ozarks Associate Professor of Spanish Dr. William Clary has known Wallace for almost 30 years and was instrumental in bringing the author to the U of O campus. Clary said he first met Wallace when both were students at the University of Missouri in Columbia in the early 1980s.

"He was in graduate school in the journalism program and I was working in Columbia and taking classes," Clary said. "We would then run into each other off and on in Latin America in later years when he was covering the wars down there. We’ve known each other for quite a few years. When I found out he was writing this book, I thought it would be great to get him on campus to talk about it."

A graduate of Yale University and the University of Missouri School of Jounalism, Wallace has been a frequent contributor to National Geographic as well as a former correspondent for Newsweek and the Guardian. He gained an early reputation for exclusive reporting from the battlefronts of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Panama in the 1980s, where he filed for CBS News Radio, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsweek, the Independent and the Guardian. His photography has been featured in Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Details, Interview, Sports Afield, the New York Times, and Newsweek, and his television producing credits include CBS, CNN, Fox News, and the National Geographic Channel.