Scott Wallace is a seasoned National Geographic journalist experienced in wars, revolutions, and the struggles of native tribes in the Amazon, the Arctic, and the Andes. "The Unconquered" tells of his 78-day journey in 2002 with Brazilian explorer and activist Sydney Possuelo working for the National Indian Foundation of Brazil (FUNAI) to establish the location of the uncontacted Flecheiros, the Arrow People, while NOT contacting them. The objective was to obtain information to protect these isolated, uncontacted native people from the encroachment of White Men and civilization, including diseases, illegal logging and gold mining, poaching and drug trafficking. The risk of contact also threatened the team in that the Flecheiros are known as skilled archers killing intruders with poison-tipped arrows.The team, led by Possuelo, contained 34 men, including Indians of the three tribes neighboring the Flecheiros and Brazilian frontiersmen. The Flecheiros' territory is a very remote area of Brazil, with no roads, only rivers and jungle. The explorers took motorboats as far as they could, then trekked through the jungle, covering 250 miles. They carried all their equipment through the jungle, some men with as much as 100 pounds on their backs, making trails with machetes. The isolation in the jungle was complete; the sky disappeared. If Wallace lost sight of the person before him, he immediately became lost. The dense canopy rendered useless the GPS, a two-way radio and the satellite phone. The explorers had no recourse in case of serious illness or injury; no medical personnel accompanied them. Risks included jaguars, ants with vise-like mandibles and toxic stingers, anacondas, caimans, deadly vipers, fire ants, swarms of wasps with stingers as big as darts, poisonous spiders, anacondas and bamboo sharp enough to impale a man. Wallace became so fearful that he said a "jungle prayer" for his safety each morning, although he hadn't prayed since childhood.Food was irregular and scarce, depending on what was available to shoot or catch in the rivers. Breakfast was sometimes a couple crackers. For days, dinner was chunks of monkey, boiled. "It was haunting, the sight of those monkeys piled one on top of the other, pink and naked, like a half dozen toddlers dismembered and set to boil." Pirana were easy to catch and made a tasty meal, if you didn't swallow the many tiny bones. A real treat was the massacre of a herd of peccaries. Wallace estimated that during the jungle trek they burned 6,000 calories per day but ate an average of only 800 calories. He lost 33 pounds during the journey. Some men were seriously ill with dysentery and malaria. Some lunch stops were without any food. The scarcity of supplies led to food hoarding and stealing. Possuelo, a martinet, fired a FUNAI employee for stealing a boiled chicken egg from the galley of the boat.Footprints, broken branches, and temporary encampments made clear that the Flecheiros were watching and following the explorers. The rules of conduct applied: carry rifles conspicuously at all times; always have two or three guards; travel in large numbers; never allow yourselves to be surrounded. When the team came upon an abandoned Flecheiro village, they deliberately changed directions to avoid encounter. Yet, as a gesture of friendship, they left gifts of cooking pots and a new machete. Incongruous? Yes.I was stunned to read that after trekking back through the jungle and returning to the river, the team's ability to get home wholly depended on the Indians building canoes for transportation, since the original motor boats had been sent back after the team reached the jungle. The Indians spent 15 days building two dugout canoes, one 40 feet and another 50 feet, including seats and paddles. They cut down tall trees, hollowed out the trunks with machetes and burned the interiors to widen them. Then, they had to make a path through the jungle to allow them to carry the canoes to the water and launch them without destruction. Such self-sufficiency in the jungle is truly impressive! "Unconquered" is a well-written, thoughtful saga of nearly 500 pages with detailed descriptions of the challenges, hardships and dangers of the expedition, historical background, social interaction among the team members and a study of the incomparable Possuelo. I felt that this well researched and thoroughly documented compelling story justified its length and was not tempted to skip or gloss over any part.Wallace produced a stellar work bringing attention to the plight of isolated populations living in ecologically vulnerable environments through a tale of peril and adventure without the all too common overwhelming tone of gloom and doom. "Unconquered" is important nonfiction with the enjoyment of a good work of fiction.