tv David Grann The Lost City of Z CSPAN October 12, 2017 10:32pm-11:50pm EDT
there was a world beyond connecticut and. but i should also save from the onset that i am not an explorer or venture i hate snakes and i don't camp. [laughter] i've taken generative eye condition that makes it hard for me to ride that -- try that night i eating get lost on the subway. so the question how did a reporter like we end up in the middle of the amazon? trying to solve the greatest mystery of the 20th century? what happened to percy faucet? when he disappeared in the amazon
looking for the ancient civilization. called "the lost city of z" i heard about the mystery while i was doing that story on the death of the greatest sherlocks homes and i came across a reference that said percy faucet helped to inspire the novel the lost world. solution you a little clip to give you some sense. >> here is then the picture of percy. now i will show you a clip from the lost world. >> i propose a new
expedition with that acceptable member of the audience to proceed to the amazon to investigate my claim of the existence of the lost world. >> i read in the lost world and it piqued my curiosity i put the name into the database and out came these crazy headlines mattis it disappears into an unknown and here is a crazy have died from "the washington post" the savages sees a movie after rescuing percy fawcett. the thing about these newspaper articles they were
in the washington post with banner headlines in "the new york times" all over the world the british papers and i soon discovered to be last of the great territorial explorer little more than of machete and a compass and a divine sense of purpose he disappeared in 1925 the stories of the venture captivated the public's imagination how he survived for years without making contact her how he would emerge from an expedition never coming back with maps and now you can see one of the maps from the region in the brazilian amazon. oh what of the maps that i found in the archives were much more detailed and
ambitious. but there was such powers of endurance that some people claimed he was immune. what american explore city chorale walk and how hike anybody else. the 1953 the "journal" said what is it like to mark the end of the major? the day of the airplane? the radio? to be organized and financed with him it is a heroic story first training to become an explorer at the turn-of-the-century and for this national geographical society in london at the time felt it is trying to
fulfill one of the great ambitions to come back with explorations and coordinates from all over the world. one of the things that surprised me for the finishing school for exporters and percy fawcett group worshiping those and this fellow was in charge of turning percy fawcett into a gentleman explore. not just how to read the map for the stars to figure out where you were in any point on the globe that also meant reading the survivalist manuals. so then you get a sense of the timing to say things
like this you're bitten by poisonous state -- make packed room with gunpowder and ignited. [laughter] if your hit with a poisonous air row ended is averaging get boiling greece to pour that into the wind. he finished his training and was quickly recruited to become a spy. this was very common for the british empire. they would lead to recruit these numbers and graduates to become spies. and they can wander into other countries. but actually faucet was sent to africa as a spy. but then in 1906 he turned
his attention fully to the amazon and strictly to exploration. at the time the amazon really remained the last large blank space on the map this should give you a sense of its size to give you a greater image. it is the size of the continental united states. so it was largely unexplored because of the jungle and the secretary of though world geographic society at the time said nobody knows. but it remains so unexplored that bolivia and brazil did not even know where their
borders were. they needed somebody to come in to figure out where they were. so they asked the royal geographic society as a representative and they sent him percy fawcett he said it was his destiny and off he went. so for the next several years he mapped an enormous amount of space to give you some sense of the area that he was exploring over here was bolivia peru was that here this was the vast swath of territory. they would take pack animals to come over the andes and
goes 60 and 17,000 feet up then the first expedition and then all the way up here. when the early expeditions you can see him survey the jungle and they were pretty extraordinary in their own right. they did not come back from the expedition of a thousand men they had almost no protection against the jumble of accosted by a vampire backs their wit have the blood streaking down there scan. there were botflies that would plant eggs and they
would catch into little worms burrowing into their skin. one body was slowly taking over from those creatures that he studied. and then the anaconda. then you get the sense of the the al gore he had three children and with the great snake as the headline in the london papers but even frogs could be deadly to the touch only about the size of the korean and had enough toxins to kill 200 people. but nothing was more people are deadly than the
mosquitos that transported everything malaria, yellow fever, bone crusher fever and elephantiasis. they did have shots so they retake these expeditions in usually half of the party would die. one of the more interesting things i was reading of percy fawcett companions. and the yellow fever that they feared most and if it was malaria those that were working in the amazon contracted to wrote these hallucinations. and then to put nothing more than a trade to mark the
grave. to read the diaries of the companions they would start out with great romance sand aspirations by the end they would be sick and delirious and starving. this pore little guy here is great aspiration to be the next darwin went in 1921 with percy fawcett holding to catalog fauna by the end he is only cataloguing the bugs' breeding him. i will read you a page to give you a sense of what it was like. >> november 20th attacked in the hammock by tight maenads. the mosquito nets is no protection. allowing no sleep. november 21st, another sleepless night because of the bloodsucking nets.
november 22nd. i have bumps from insect bites they are swollen two nights of the almost no sleep is terrible. november 23rd. horrible might. even smoke with no avail purpose of robert 24th. i wrist and hand is swollen. they are worse than ever there is no rest for the weary. december 5th. my first encounter with flesh terrene bees that was the worst we have encountered rendering the food and palatable and their bellies were disgustingly distended. and finally days of toyo night to torture.
the explorer's life wears the romance. while also conducting these expeditions and is usually in demand and was tapped in the jungle. and then meant to enslave the indians. those that tried to resist was the massacre so at this time made the american west and because of this violence and made the expedition under the treacherous and would ambush any interlopers are trespassers. end to flaunt that any counter intuitive thing to
move on all expeditions' would come into the jungle with for a thousand men day wore armor which was probably not the smartest in the jim crow but even with percy fawcett a big expedition was the only way to looser by band percy fawcett believed in taking small parties may be fiber 10 or 12 he believed the only way there could be enough food to a cystine your party but also to persuade the amazon indian tribes of the peaceful intention. and unlike many of his colleagues like the rubber tappers he refused to let his men fire on the indians even if they were ambushed
sometimes he would order them to drop their weapons and then order them to sing. and then pick up a handkerchief. they did not want their skin expose security off the handkerchief to drop the weapon and march into the area of -- pharao is leaving it above his head. there were wounded virtus sec to carry on. that would be too difficult to enlist the welfare of the entire party. so i want to read a few passages from the book and it will give you a sense the expedition that percy fawcett went on 1908 with a
of a river in brazil on the border and the sources and noted so it takes some of that romance for this search for the nile but percy fawcett was determined to find it he took nine men including second in command named fisher. >> despite cutting, chopping, pushing, pulling the jungle from morning till night only going half a mile per day. there were vague saying can mud the always burned when the geese drawn to sweat and invading their pupils. the brazilian called them the aisle liquors. -- the i liquor's but then they produced the wilderness to enable them to overcome that they knew exactly where
they were. help. they were supposed to conserve their rations but most atypically and then another food within days. they were determined to find the source of the river now trying to capture every drop of rain with their mouth open at night chilled through their body and then infected fisher as the tree fell on the leg of another member of the party so they had to be disbursed. fisher muttered they would be their bones there others pray for salvation. blood pressure plummeted the bodies consumed their own tissue. the voices of the others seem to come through a long tube.
as they stagger on many men no longer tried to slap but those mosquitos but keep watch against the indians. despite the moment of terror and agony to regard these matters and a reasonable way you would be considered merciful and finally to be the resources of the river he took measurements even though he had trouble moving his limbs they looked like dead men. with their peers matted against their faces and on that trip alone five of his
men died of starvation and disease and percy fawcett returned as a virtual skeleton selling it -- sending a telegram to the geographic society. but then teeeighteen began to develop the theory that the amazon might contain the remnants of the advanced civilization. as they descended the amazon river perhaps no place on the planet had ignited the imagination that those who were supposed to adapt. here you can see a picture of the 16th century drawing of that vision of what people thought they might look like getting gives you a sense in the
european imagination but what was true about the region here is the rat is so incredible but the most enchanting vision of all was el dorado. the a conquistadores her about this kingdom and sir walter raleigh the ground of metal into powder until they were shining from the head too deep into that so each
expedition always ended in disaster that had saddam for a thousand men and 4,000 men would die from it tried defending their territory many el dorado expeditions' would end at feeding their own and after ayatollah death and suffering most people finally concluded there was no more than a dilution assuming the narrow complex society could not ever come down because of those brutal conditions. to famous least some up the region despite all the flora and fauna will end human life because the of the sun on the nutrients and this
will is depleted then you cannot grow crops. because of that and a scientist argued you can develop a larger population to have divisions of labor or political hierarchy. so they argued those conditions of hunter-gatherer's would sustain the population and a group of with of the ways to get revenge to infanticide. in the 1970's claudio was one of the great defenders and he told the reporter, this is the jungle
so that could be essential for a the survival of the tribe. but we are shocked. but teeeighteen during his expedition began to believe these assumptions were wrong and incorrect. to go deeper into a the jungle led deeper you went there triborough is more robust to be decimated by disease here are some of the early pictures and "this is it" the image but this fuelled the idea of the counterfeit paradise but they were contacted before has a classified these
indians. and teeeighteen always struck me to, stumbling desperate for food baileys and plenty of food. that they could adapt to their environment and those were more fertile land terra firma and then to use of various poisons and also struck by those young tribes that were not yet decimated from disease by the sophistication of their cultures but all of these davis sense that perhaps the general assumption passed down for generations it began the study and here you
can see a picture of the text and the pitcher then i took the found this in a brazilian archive. but he began to study these documents even though day never found them the first was that went in to the amazon in the first europeans. they describe populations along the banks of the river. large towns and cities in white and dreamlike causeway and pottery as refined as a thing from recent'' rome. and then they would never find any of these.
and simply a product of the conquistadores and then to new justified to a the monarchs the disastrous journey and wanted to abolish that. but he thought there was too much similarity to dismiss all so maybe disease decimated the population is. maybe they had consumed the settlement. >> and when he was in the bolivian floodplain looking down on the ground he picked it up it was a shard of pottery everyone he began to scratch he would find pieces of broken pottery. this is the period the fluor carbon dating so they could not determine the date but
also to look as refined as anything he had seen so many saw a larger earth mound when he looked at them connected it was the overgrowth of the jungle floor as if they were a causeway or road and wondered if that was what the conquistadores had described. he battled the skeptics over many years. finally in 1925 he set out to find out the place he called the city of z. he took only two men with
him his son jack who really were shipped his father and looks very dashing as you can see as he returns from this great expedition and the actually had his birthday while he was in the jungle. and pretty much they were inseparable. now percy fawcett was secretive about where he was going and at the time there was a race among various explorers with this el
dorado because of all these rivals percy fawcett couldn't maintain the paranoia of the spy even with his letters he would hide his court and it's exactly where he was going in the jungle and to get some sense of where he was going. and took the train and then went to the capital and then stayed in brazil which means dense forest and then to attend get into this territory here as you can see on the map it says unexplored.
here is a picture of jack and he has a pack animal. davidson and pack animals with them but they with take them with them for about three weeks. but in fact, the last known can and then they had to shoot a course in canada and did he released those chord minutes as the dead horse camp was the last known iconic place of the region. and within the expedition
there was foster and riley they did take to porter's but then the guys became afraid and one of the interesting thing is is to scientific decisions but it was also funded by the north american and newspaper alliance. and then the dispatches were carried out. and then to a ride weeks later to make it to the city.
and tutsi the magic to broadcast around the world. everybody follows this see that. we'll then to go deeper into the jungle. and then they ceased. one year or two years went by. lahood day vida rescue and all sorts of llord began to develop there were novels and documentary's and here you can see one of the adventure novels that was
written around the of mystery i dunno if anybody remembers the cajun theory. and even made a cameo in this series. [laughter] you can see teeeighteen appearing in the jungle and never run to lead to black to lose civilization. percy fawcett was to be a role model for indiana jones that was even tied into the movie with a brook where percy fawcett even escaped from the a river of death. :should follow in his wake but despite his warnings scientists and explorers the
crow determined to recover the party to have evidence and the city of z many died of disease and with those who disappeared. and the 1928 when of the first major rescue efforts and helping to solve the mystery there is actually a movie made about his adventure trying to save percy fawcett. and actually brought one of the first movie cameras into the jungle to fill part of that. and actually day supply san black-and-white footage said
you get a sense of the melodrama. >> newspaper alliance sent me off. i have explored most countries of the world. but now has an added meaning. and beyond of wild and savage country that is row would follow a percy fawcett trail. a veteran explore. said what i find it is the forgotten grace as the and
this pertains. >> he did eventually make it out of the joe gold though only barely. in he thought he came up with a clue to solve the mystery but the theory eventually collapse. and one of those british consoles and nate police held the hope to seem bearish correctable and then the swiss trapper thought he found evidence. and here they were looking at a map but then day went to find percy fawcett and was never seen again.
one of the things that interested me was doing my research that the search parties did not just the one in the twenties and thirties or forties. but in 1996 a large scale brazilian expedition those several the 16 at the time. taking a party of the dozen men to solve the mystery and then were kidnapped by a tribe and held hostage and eventually escaped after several days. >> as the reporter i want to tell the story of percy
fawcett and what had happened to him. and i began to do it in the way to go into libraries to find them in the dimly lit through which was the height of my venture. [laughter] and looking at old manuscripts. eventually i talked down -- attract jong teeeighteen granddaughter we chatted for a while eventually she said if you really want to know what happened to my grandfather? i said if it is possible of course. she led me into the back room was the old test -- just and there were books that were crumbling and covered with dust. she say are his diaries and
a log books. this was the equivalent of my 85. the city of z to hold unprecedented clues to what happened. as i was looking for cleans -- clues i came across the word dead horse camp all the previous expeditions relied on those cordons but a look at the diary i saw a dead horse camp and i checked those coordinates and they were significantly different. and then where most people
were but they were based on his diaries but the granddaughter confirmed that percy fawcett was our roofs to throw a the arrivals off the path. so this meant those expeditions went in the wrong direction. so then i really bait -- became consumed and then with this information i said i know where he went. [laughter] why don't i go? [laughter] so i decided to do it. [laughter] and by a cable of appear to follow teeeighteen path through letters and logbooks i could piece together a
pretty accurate grouper crow and this is a huge discrepancy and those that were in their own right. so i decided to try to do this so today the amazon remains of know the government says there are 60 tribes that have been and contacted. one members of the tribe emerge from the amazon in colombia to announce they are going to join the modern
world and was not aware columbia was a country. so with the aerial shot this territory is under control. and those that are under control. because of the bloody history that they have their own councils and laws. and those second help me make contact to enter that territory. now i first started to call around many of them had heard of percy fawcett.
and to be on the trail of colonel percy fawcett to help show the way. so now going to the granddaughter and those private letters that were carried out of the teeeighteen description -- percy fawcett description he talks about crossing the river and they were afraid to get across. he was extremely proud of his son at that moment. and then to be as close as possible. >> one of the more interesting things on the trip literally to go to the
exact same place is. so try to get a sense of how the world has changed the loss of the climate had one of the things we've tried to find that in his letters he describes going to the ranch and going for several weeks there were already a bit sec but this lettuce pushout and was known as the extremely ruthless man and had a very large manor.
and as we describe bin the river where they cross. indian though the ranch kim you visit? and then we reach where he took a machete and said right here. what do you mean? right here. and then the more we looked we could see the ruins of a great manor. it was in that moment i had a sense of how civilization and city really could be swallowed by the juggle in only a couple of decades. >> and earlier at this point
and then to describe better deal. and then to be separated. and then to look around me but the jump gold was gone with that deforestation with those soybean farms and here is another picture. then we got to the outpost. and then to make contact. and then to describing the letter. and those poor conditions.
along the outskirts it was made out of of material and they were enormous the size of the room. they are extremely cool and actually they are quite comfortable. once you get this far into the jungle with continuity with the world in spirit. the that is to order per co pay so the big interesting thing in the trap could then
closer to where the city of z was located. then then curious with the chief and then as the archaeologist and then to do research. and with that inquiry even though he was an amateur they were a lot more than professionals. but there was a large ditch that was excavated. it had got around in ancient
about the amazon. but then they fuelled this revolution. but coke -- archeologists are going in there. and then do pinpoint those artifacts. and then to be connected by the roads and a the causeways. not all the transforming their view with those eccentric explorers. but it was transforming our understanding of the amazon. with that level of sophisticated civilization.
but this was the story they said so lot of the tribes have oral histories. it is almost like the epic poem and to my astonishment because that was the first white man they had ever seen. magaziner anthropologist and then and then just to read it to you enclosing. >> i should just say before i start incredible of
granddaughter of the next generation that she was willing to share and show them. the second question in terms of timing, it's hard to say in terms of the precise time. i would guess the dispatch came out for about five months. the last month when came back from that horse camp. from there to the tribal several days track. probably a week so what it taking a week to get there, maybe two weeks but i would suspect that based on this oral history whether or not a life that much longer after they last the tribe. >> anybody else? >> if civilization claps from
1500 that's too early for diseases for the europeans to hit them, to have idea what caused it? >> the first expedition came in at 1542. and a lot of the settlements they go up to the 1500s. with a carbon dating. southerly diseases but he came in in 1542 and spread quickly. it's only now that people are getting a full sense the size of these seem to be much smaller. one thing they're finding is a lot a black earth. this is basically enriched from organic waste from charcoal and burning. one thing the indians did as they would use the soil from organic waste products are
throwaway and this also believed to make the soil more fertile so they could go group crops. and overcome this notion. one thing archaeologists are finding are massive amounts of this black earth which is direct evidence of settlements throughout the amazon. there's enough now to suggest that may have sustained millions of people. >> where did he go in? on the pacific side and whereabouts? >> usually in the early expeditions he would come over the andes. sometimes he would come through the panama canal. he describes crossing the panama canal and was being constructed at the time and he could see all among the sides stacks of
coffins of people dying from yellow fever and malaria. but he would go across and come down the pacific side i would take a train up to prove and then eventually he would track a across the animals down the andes into the jungle. on the last expedition he wanted to move eastward because he wanted to move toward the oceans and toward civilization rather than going inward you might eventually get out but that never happened. >> anybody else? >> this is more about you and your experience, how did you make out with bugs? >> i don't like bugs.
we had this wonderful little japanese that he was a strong advocate of and it worked pretty well. i did fairly well. i took my malaria pills and these were things they didn't have back then. i did get some parasitic condition that affected my stomach and the bugs were bothersome. one interesting thing where the homes, when we're camping out and sleep in hammocks and be miserable but the houses we're moving on up. one of the things the book is about is about the ways that people of the amazon had adapted to the conditions to overcome them. so a lot of these images which were true, they would come in with thousands of men and they
would die. if the image of the amazon is a death trap. the people who are living there had found it amazing to live there. >> any other questions. >> you mentioned briefly the advanced technology that was being used, why haven't we use more of this? >> what kind of advanced technology? >> the satellites and the the things that we have at our disposal now. >> one thing that happened was that for so long it was assumed to be a paradise that most scholars do want to do much serious work there. they kept a lot of the
archaeologist away. he said most people having come into this because they didn't think they would find anything. now looking for ruins in archaeology one reason is just the assumption. now a group of scholars have been going in for about the last 15 years of visiting the sites and coming up with amazing discoveries. and shattering many of these old perceptions. >> why z? if it's a mystery city, and what did his wife think. >> those are two good questions. i'm thankful he named as a because i don't know if i would've had a book of the city
of bend. in all of his writings i spent years researching he never explained why called at that. he had a sense of drama and found himself a mythic character and he grew up reading these romances and older brother was a popular quest novelist at the time. in fact the lost world probably borrowed a little bit in terms of it being one of the older brothers novels. in terms of why z? he never specified as for his wife and the relationship it's interesting. i didn't really talk about it in the lecture but his wife is they
loved each other deeply but her life was pretty miserable. he would grab for years at a time and leave her with the family. and he became so obsessed with finding this great city that he bankrupted the family. he would use what little money they had and was always investing his pension and his trip. in the end, their living like they were in the jungle. they didn't have electricity or running water as she describes the grueling chores. social life is hard but in enablers and the right word but she was complicit, she was tied up in his adventures. in a way she was the chief spokesman which was away in the
jungle i would do everything to promote his legend. one of the things i tried to wrestle with and explore in the book is the decision to take your oldest son to the in the decision-making process that went into that. >> was curious about reading the journals. did you figure out why he was so physically capable of going to the jungles and not get sick and pass away? was it his eating habits or did he work out? >> he was a tall, is very lean was like a marathon runner but extremely muscular.
many people would describe this remarkable constitution. at the time it's interesting, there is great speculation about it. people would write like how does this happen. he goes into this party some said it was his eating habits, some said is the way he learned to adapt to the jungle. a good part of it was that he did begin to adapt the methods of the tribes who would encounter. by the end he lived like a warrior chief in the jungle and painted his face. there was an element of mystery and it's inexplicable what it was that allowed him to be so resistant to malaria and yellow fever when so many men would die.
and made him fairly merciless with his companions. he couldn't comprehend a weakness so he was a daring man and he would drive these men to the jungle. if you're the weaker man you despise him. usually his men divided into two camps, those who worshiped him in the week. i should even say work, there simply human. but they broke down and grew to really dislike him. the other thing that happened he was older by his last expedition and fought in world war i. is the first time he is wounded, he was gassed. the constitution even though he would never admit it was not the same by the last expedition. he was 57 years old as well.
>> i can only see the front row, my question is, did you have any idea before hand the tribes had an oral history or was it a complete magical surprise for you and if so how long did it take to translate it? >> it was a complete surprise. it took a while but it was a wonderful moment they translated the account and did a marvelous job. there'll history is sometimes slightly different in some of its versions, but essential tenets are always the same.
>> the national geographic has done work on dna traits. i was in brazil there's a lot of interest in having some of those upper amazon indians be something other than the predominant blood type. did you run into any information on that. one of the things that is happening with the new discoveries is is shattering the old paradigms. were just at the beginning of this revolution. we don't yet fully understand that much about the civilization in the history. for example in the amazon they found in a cave backed about 10000 years ago.
that's twice as long as anyone thought there was a human presence in the amazon. that's undercutting the theory of how the americas are first populated and eventually migrated down. the settlement in this cave is as old as the first settlement in north america. we also don't have the same artifacts that were defined by the way they had these essentially what's happening it's kind like where these populations there's all these theories going around and the truth is, you don't have full answers. caps on but were just at the beginning so it's wide open right now. for a long time nobody thought
it they found an observatory and it was the stone hedge of the amazon. these discoveries are happily even when i came back they keep happening every time people come in and are using the new technology to find anything. thank you. i'll be outside signing books. thank you so much. [applause] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> friday night tv will be a prime time with a look back at some of the years books. we'll hear from greg harper at
the 2017 professor will and a discussion of free speech from the 2017 brooklyn book festival. tuning friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. >> sunday night on afterwards. historian craig shirley on the life and political career newt gingrich with his book, citizen new. he is interviewed by tom davis. >> this is there before cable television. this is before cnn and is just little pockets of cable here and there but mostly reruns of i love lucy and andy griffith. no talk radio to speak of.
c-span. he quickly realizes the potency of giving special orders every afternoon and a five minute speech. because of that being carried 200,000 homes across the country. and dick used to say, would you go give us be sure hundred thousand people and a set of course and he said that's what you do with c-span so c-span became it quickly becomes a colt political leader and he's giving 700 letters a week from people around the country a junior member from georgia is a member of the minority party. >> watch sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on book tv.
>> next, we'll hear from rebecca, her book the immortal life of henrietta lacks was the basis for an hbo original film. we sat down with her virginia shortly after the books release. >> rebecca who is henrietta lacks? >> she was a poor african-american former recent southern virginia where she was diagnosed with cervical cancer 30. without her knowledge dr. took a small piece of the tumor and put it in a petri dish and her cells became the first grown in culture. they been trying to grow cells for decades and no one knows entirely why pitchers never die. there's still life sniggering in laboratories