FORA.tv Studios and Whole Earth Films present David Grann, writer for The New Yorker, speaking to Phil Bronstein, editor-at-large for the San Francisco Chronicle, about his new book The Lost City of Z.
Grann shares his journey from city-dwelling reporter to intrepid adventurer, where he follows the footsteps of famed explorer Percy Fawcett deep into the Amazon jungle.
Phil Bronstein was named executive chair of the board of The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) in April 2012, when the organization merged with The Bay Citizen. Bronstein joined the CIR board in 2006 and became board chair in 2011. He is now in charge of overall operations. Previously, Bronstein was editor-at-large and director of content development for Hearst Newspapers. Before that, he was executive vice president and editor-at-large of the San Francisco Chronicle, after serving as the newspaper’s editor from 2000 to 2008. Bronstein was editor of the San Francisco Examiner, which merged with the Chronicle in 2000, from 1991 to 2000. He started at the Examiner as a reporter in 1980, where he specialized in investigative projects and was a foreign correspondent for eight years. He was a 1986 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work in the Philippines. Before joining the Examiner, he was a reporter with public television station KQED in San Francisco. He is the former chairman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ International Committee and is currently on the advisory board of Litquake, the annual San Francisco literary festival.
David Grann has been a New Yorker staff writer since 2003. "The Lost City of Z," his New Yorker article about his journey into the Amazon to uncover the fate of a missing explorer, was expanded into a Times best-selling book. Many of his New Yorker pieces are collected in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession.
In Greek mythology, a member of a race of women warriors. One of the labours of Heracles was to obtain the girdle of the Amazon queen Hippolyte. In another tale, Theseus attacked the Amazons, and they responded by invading Attica, where they were defeated; Theseus married the Amazon Antiope. In ancient Greek art, Amazons resembled Athena (with weapons and helmet) and later Artemis (in a thin dress girded high for speed).
Good insight into the origins of the book, "The Lost City of Z." David should consider pondering the prospects that there is opposition in all things. "Z" being soul below compared to soul above, and moist, hot jungle, compared to the dry, cold ice cap. "Z" representing an underground map leading from the southern to the northern hemisphere. Finding the secret of what lies in the northern hemisphere between Africa and South America can bring a sequel to, "The Lost City of Z," and the real answer to what happened to Fawcett. Civilization living in seclusion and without war for a few thousand years would lay the foundation of a society with technology considered out of this world, when actually well...Opposition in all things. May Percy's rule be long! Only three more years and we should all know!
Did Grann even have a microphone for this discussion? Or was his voice being picked up entirely by the interviewer's mic? In terms of its sound, this interview was extremely poorly-produced. The interviewer's voice was front and center, but the interviewee's was weak and difficult to hear. Very imbalanced.
This was a fantastic discussion, you can tell Phil was really into the subject. I had a lot of fun shooting this, because I've actually traveled into the Peruvian Amazon. It's a brutal environment, but so beautiful. Can't wait to read the book!
Trevar Mazza Director of Media Production
We are here this afternoon with David Grann. New Yorker writer and the author of thenew book, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe Lost City of Z.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ This is quite a tale, it is says a tale right here on thefront. So I know not just from my reading, but from what they say. But you describeyourself everywhere, in the book and in the story. Originally from New Yorker and ininterviews as ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe least-likely explorer in the history of man.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ A bit overweight, bit outof shapeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦More than a bit.Well you can either add or tell me to stop at anytime. The degenerative eye issue, makesit hard to see at night. You get lost going to The New Yorker office in Manhattan. Youlike take-out, you like TiVo, you like air-conditioning on high, you will take the elevatorinstead of the stairs. And I have heard you, describe the process of you being that personand then thrusting yourself into the most deadly and dangerous seemingly from the book,part of the world. And I still do not understand, you refer to it as an evolution, but itseems to me that would be an evolution that might take centuries.Well, it is funny the person that ask me the question the most is my lovely wife, Kiraand I have been straining ever since I did to come up with a very rational answer andprobably is not one that can be totally distilled. That is utterly logical, I mean there areone of things I describe in the book about was Fawcett, the main character whodisappeared in Amazon looking for a lost city. Who became deeply obsessed for findingit, almost driven virtually mad and ended up disappearing and leading his son even todeath. You can explain the evolution of his process so that there is kind of, why eachthing led to the other and yet you still get to the very end and you say, "Why you leadyour son into the jungle to almost certain death." And how it ended up from Brooklyn,very comfortable watching my sport highlights and taking the elevator to my apartmentto the jungle is a bit of a leap especially for me. There were pieces that kind of lead toeach piece and I began the quest much more biographical. I really wanted to tell thisman's story. There never been a major biography about him and I began the search inarchives which I am very good at, much more suited for going down the stairs.Air conditioning.Air conditioned basement, a little light. I am very good with the papers and as I gatheredmore information about Fawcett and what did happen to him. And this mystery that isoften describe as the greatest exploration in the history of the 20th century. It slowlykind of got under me. And I would say there was one turning point. So I can at leastgive it a slightly irrational gloss, which was I had gone to England. To track downFawcett's granddaughter or the name Rolette and she had invited me into her house andwe chat for a long time and I was hoping to interview her about her grandfather. Whatwas he like, et cetera. How did the family cope with his disappearanceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and eventuallyshe said, "Do you want to find out what happened to my grandfather?" And I said, "Ifpossible." She lead me into this backroom where there is this old trunk and she had openthe trunk. Inside were all these old books and they were breaking apart. They werecover with dust and she told me, they were her grandfather's diaries and logbook. WhenI began to go through them. I discovered clues to where he had really gone in the jungle.And where the city of Z might be. Something that the world really did not know. And Ijust felt like I was sitting on this secret and I kind of said, "Well, what if I go the rightway."Well there is a quote from, one of the adventurers of many in this book. But first to getthere is very important. Did you have that sense, suddenly, sort of compulsion, thisobsession. Because you have talked about Fawcett's obsession to explore in general tofind the lost city of Z. But in many that sounds like something hits you. It is like youhave a picture of the holy grail. Now having only the picture on earth, you are going tofind it.I did feel that, Fawcett have been extremely secretive about where he went in the jungle.He was always worried that one of his rivals might beat him to his discovery. He actuallyonce been a spy and he had always maintained the paranoia of a spy. In fact he used toÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦when you would describe where he is, potentially going to go to the city of Z and covereda lot of his letters. He would actually right the coordinates and code to his wife. His wifehad a cipher to decode them and there really only been one clue to where he had gone inthe jungle. It was a place called, Dead Horse Camp. And it was his last known campwhere he had shot a pack horse. And all of the expeditions have said, "Okay that is theway to go." And then when I look in the diaries, I saw the coordinates for Dead HorseCamp and they were different from those coordinates and I realize the grandmotherconfirm for me that, the coordinates he had released publicly for Dead Horse Camp hasalways been a ruse to throw his rivals of the trail. And there was this sense of, well thereis just a little thought, but it kind of gnaws at you. Well if they all went that way, but youare suppose to go that way. Maybe you might get the answer. So that is my rational,logical answer and the truth is probably far darker, inexplicable.In terms of just survival. I mean there were as you describe it in the book, not only themystery of Z, but the mystery of what happened to Fawcett and the party. And therewere hundreds if not thousands of people who went it, wanting to solve that mystery.One or both, particularly the Fawcett mystery and so this one piece of evidenceconvinced you that, you among all the thousand, would survive?Like I said, that is my rational gloss. The answer is probably darker and moreinexplicable.Well you know, you mention your wife you said that your wife said after finding out youare going and you said, "Many people had disappeared in this quest. I hope you knowwhat you are doing," which sounds pretty understated and calm for somebody who isabout to go intoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Yes, but you did not see the look.You are right.The look said it all. It is the one I get often, "I sure hope you know what you are doing"We were chatting earlier before the cameras turned on and we were talking about some ofthe many dangers of the jungle. I actually put some of them together here just so you get,people would get a sense of it. Because I strung together some of the sentences. Andhere is only one string, ticks that attach like leeches, red hair chiggers that consumehuman tissue. Cyanide squirting millipedes, the parasitic worms that cause blindness.The Berne flies that drove through clothing and skin. The pium bug that cause lesions.The kissing bug who would bite on your, which would bite you in your lip and 20 yearslater your head explodes or brain or heart. Mosquitoes that would give you yellow fever,elephantiasis or yellow fever. One expedition you describe going in when Fawcett wentin most were sick with fever. Overcome with insatiable thirst, skull splitting headachesand uncontrollable shivering. And we would not even get into the black vomit. So firstof all, did you know all of these before you went in there? Because that then sounds alittle nutty.That is a little nutty, I would say I knew a fair amount and because I would carry hisletters with me and I did not know everything. There were still a few things I learnedafterwards, I got in more detailed description. What happens with this quest. I wasextremely focused on the object and the object was I am a storyteller. And Fawcett'squest was for Z, my quest is to understand Fawcett and tell his story and figure out whathappen is. And I was so focus on that, that I did not think too much about the mechanics,although there were moments in the jungle where I cursed myself for being there andhaving done what I did. I am feeling foolish and at one point even cursing Fawcettangrily when I was afraid I got lost in the jungle. But like a lot of Fawcett companionswho start of a great romance and ambition. I would read their diaries and I would start ofon a trek with great bravura and by the end you read their diaries and basically deliriousand all they are doing is cataloging the bug. So you kind of begin this expeditions notthinking about that stuff and then you get there and you are stuck.Teddy WhiteÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s book made me want to be a foreign correspondent. But he was youknow, in China as a god in that era. So it is a little different. And you say actually thatFawcett had almost have god complex. First of all, how did you survive and not haveany of these things that we know of, and hope certainly not the kissing bug problem.How did you get out of there without anything? Did you have malaria? Did youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Yes, I mean one of the things I tried doing in the books is alternate chapters between thepast and the present. Between Fawcett's expedition and my expedition without everbeing explicit. But just showing how the world has change and expeditions havechanged. And Fawcett actually went to finishing school to become explorer. Went to theRoyal Geographical Society in London. And they were trained explorers, they havehelped launch Speke and Burton. All these great explorers on their way. And I wouldread the manuals that he would read for his preparation and they would say things like,"Okay, if you are bitten by a snake, a poisonous snake, you take some gun powder, youpack it on the wound and you ignite it." Or if you get gangrene, take your machete andjust hack off your arm and try to cauterize the wound by pouring in boiling grease. Soeven when it was incredibly barbaric and when Fawcett would take these parties in. Themost lethal thing was not the large predators, people often think of snakes and things likethat which were always dangerous. But it was really the mosquitoes that would transportall these diseases. Many of things which you describe and they have no immunities.They had virtually no immunities and would take parties in and usually at least half ofthem would die of disease and I had the benefit of malaria pills and yellow fever shotsand basically any shot that you can get.You came out and unscathed.That can make things better and I went to EMS store and you know, I do not camp andgot all my hi-tech wizardry like my GPS and all these things. That being said, you get allthese things and it shows how much the world has change. But when you are deep in thejungle. It is amazing how similar many things are and you get a real sense of what hewent through. You are surrounded by green, you are basically hacking through and it ispretty unpleasant.You talked about the people that did not come out. There was one reference to anexpedition of four thousand people. It is harder for me to imagine. An expedition intothe jungle of four thousand people than it is to imagine Z. How do you get an expeditionof four thousand men, how does that work?The first expedition that went into the Amazon was in 1542 and it was in search of ElDorado and other ancient civilization that has a lot of correlation with the city of Z asFawcett dubbed it. And it was lead by the conquistadors and they took some fourthousand men and they plunge into the wilderness. Many of them wear armor which isfairly foolish, heading into the jungle and almost all of them died of disease andstarvation, from Indians defending their territory with arrows dipped in poison. Just afew men made it out from that one trip and one of the things that happen is that whenEuropean or Westerners or outsiders are going to the jungle. One of the reason it is sodeadly it is that, they are simply not accustomed to the conditions that they are going toface. They really novices or green horn. And the jungle is such an actual battlefield withall the predators competing with each other. There is so much more skill that hidingthemselves or concealing themselves. So for example, one of things that people neverthink about in the jungle is starvation. You think, "Well, I am going to the Amazon,there will be plenty of food."I am reading being a little shock, you cannot eat.Yes, you would starve. Fawcett would take these parties and they will usually starved.And there were marksmen, they were world class marksmen. So many of the indigenoustribes that have been in the jungle for a long time have kind of adopted ingeniously to theconditions. One of things Fawcett slowly did was, he begun to adopt many of themethods of the tribe and by the very end. He essentially lived like an Indian warrior in the jungle.Now you describe, he is style, he refuse to have his man shoot or kill any of the Indians.They cannot attack back if they were attacked and you describe this kind of wild scenewhere he, he has his men singing god save the queen at the background and he runs withhis arms up right or white flag into the arrows. Now how did he not become apincushion?Fawcett went against almost a grain in many ways. Most Amazon expeditions from thatearly precedent, when the fist expedition went in with some four thousand men wouldtake large expeditions. Not necessarily four thousand men, but they would go at least ahundred men. And it was kind of believed that was the only way you could survived, youcould defend yourself against various tribes and you kind of whether the assault. Fawcettbelieves in only taking a few men, he would take anywhere from a six to a dozen. Thiswas seen as kind of mad by many of his colleagues at the Royal Geographical Society.And more than that, he refuse, because you said they let his men fire on the Indian underany circumstances. Now one of the reasons he believed in taking small groups, becausehe believes it was the only way to persuade the tribes in his peaceful intentions and in thison famous incident, which is described by his colleagues in their diary. He ordered hismen to drop their weapons when they are being ambushed and to sing and kind of madVictorian fashion God save the queen and he took off his handkerchief and they alwayswear handkerchiefs, because they do not want any their skin exposed to the bugs. Andthe white handkerchief and he marched into the arrows and he was able to eventually stop firing.They were just bad shots? These arrows you describe as six feet longÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Some of Fawcett's ability to survive early on isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it is almost inexplicable and itcontributed to his sense of invulnerability. Now he was incredibly daring and he adoptedmany of methods that were extremely effective that helped him to survive. But therewere moments like that where essentially it is a miracle, there is no. He believed it was amiracle, but it slowly got into his head and even to his wife's head. That he wasinvincible and probably contributed to his death in the end. He did have almost by theend, almost the god complex that nothing can touch him and he would say, you wouldask the same question he did, "How could somebody walk march into the arrows and thearrows has not kill me?" So it gave him a sense of invulnerability that I think ultimatelyhelpÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦It is like indigenous groups in Southeast Asia who wear amulets and feel like bulletscannot kill them. I mean there isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ your book was describe in one interview as magicalnon-fiction. And there is this sort of sense of mythology. And when I was reading it andreading about perspective on the Amazon in Victorian times and to some extent stilltoday. I thought about Mountains of Madness, the book by H. P. Lovecraft whereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ thattook place in North Pole or South Pole and of course and it was about aliens actually inpre-history. But there is something very mythological about all these.And one of things that drew me to the story when you ask me what kind of interested mewasÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there is something about Fawcett story that are almost archetypal. I mean it reallyis mythical, not just this kind of landscape and flank spaces were filled with kind of mist,but Fawcett's quest story is mythical. I mean it is almost like this Greek myths of settingout for some object like the fairytales you hear when you are a kid. I mean it is notsurprising that Fawcett helped inspired Conan Doyle's quest novel ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ The Lost World andhe influenced all these novels and Indiana Jones and there is something deeply mythicaland then, just in his story and his search and it was interesting even his brother havewritten quest novels that were kind of mythical in quality and deeply influence.And I think Fawcett almost saw himself as a mythical characters.His dad was? I mean, he indulge very much in Madame Blavatsky was the psychic of the timeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Right, the psychic of the time, yes.And did not his dadÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦His brother.His brother engaged alsoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Yes, his brother did very much so and also wrote this quest and soÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there is somethingand like saying yes, he saw himself almost as a fable character. And then the landscapeback then and even to some extent today. The Amazon is always kind of inspiredlegends and myths. It is kind of this, people often forget just how huge it is. I mean it isthe size of the continent of the United States that have remained impenetrable. So hereby 1925ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ by then Fawcett is already, almost an anachronism. By then you alreadyhave cities, you have urbanization. You have the beginning of radios, you have cars. Soyou have this world kind of changing. You have this area on the map that remainsrelatively unknown. Because of the impenetrable jungle and because of the conditions.And so it just evoked, and it had evoked for centuries, kind of haunted the westernimagination.Well you know, it is interesting, because you talk about the mythology of Fawcett andwhen you read the book you certainly get the sense that he was the topic of conversationfor decades and yet people have really not heard of him. I mean, he is not an icon in thesense Amelia Earhart is an icon or even the phrase Dr. Livingstone I presume. Whathappened? How did the mythology is not the story of Fawcett disappear?One of things that in doing the research that I have never really had a sense of who justthe sheer brutality of history. He was a man who quested a fame and legend his wholelife. And essentially attained it and when he disappeared and when I went back and didnewspaper databases and look into old, dug up old newspaper articles. There wereheadlines in every paper around the world and not just little stories. There were literallydouble deck headlines in New York Times andÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦And when people went it that after him, they would sign up with UPS and UPI sorry.Well they have to carry this aboutIt was the brown uniform that attracted mosquitoes.Yes and so initially when I became interested in this story. When I started to look up thisstories I said, "How come I never heard of this guy and how could he have held thissway." And I got a sense of just how cruel the judgment of history can be, because he isa man who literally was known in every continent for decades. And when he firstdisappeared just to give some sense. He disappeared in 1925. In 1928 the first searchparty was launch to try to rescue him. Believing he may still be alive. Tens of thousandsof Americans just in the United States not including all of Europe. Tens of thousands ofAmericans, he was a Brit, volunteer to join that rescue party and I was able to find theirletters. And read these letters and there are people in every walk of life whether be abutler, to captains of industry, volunteering to basically to go in a suicide mission. It wasthat kind of electric and I try to kind of figure out what was it that eventually clips himand I think part of it was, he was a bit of an anachronism already in 1925. Now that helpcreate his legend, but it ultimately help obliterate him a little. He is kind of last of theamateur explorers. There was a time period where professionalization of exploration andscience and beginning.So archeologist are replacing the explorers?Archeologist were replacing this Fawcett-like characters. And Fawcett theory of the lostcity was dismissed by the scientific establishment from nearly all of the 20th century asmad and as fantastical. And he was eventually kind of judged to be a crank, whosacrifice his life and the life of his kid in pursuit of a mad fantasy. And so that ultimatejudgment marginalized him. And I think eventually as less people who remembered hisdisappearance passed away. There was no, he was not seen as giving a scientificcontribution, if anything he was seen kind of nuts. And one of the things I wanted to doin the book was about to excavate his life, because it is pretty extraordinary and bring itto the public again. But also many of these theories turned out to be, he was slightly madand anyone who listens to him is on the march in there is slightly mad. But many of histheories, were somewhat prescient.Did you say everybody who goes in the Amazon is slightly mad?Is that what you said? Okay, you said in some point in the interview, Fawcett becamelike my Z. You were, but seems like you have accomplished a number of things here.First of all, you essentially found what probably was Z, right in this sort of formerramparts of this giant city. You got as close as anyone else have not gotten to, whathappened to him which he went over that way and never came back. And now you haveresurrected his reputation. So I mean, there must be a sense of your own senseexploration, but also a sense of satisfaction that you have, actually re-created the greatmythology about this guy.Yes, I mean there is a sense when I embark on this quest, more than any other thing Ihave ever done. I am reporter by trade and usually when you report on stories, you havesense of the parameters what you might find. So even if you do not know everything,you say while I am doing a crime story, I have to get hold of these documents of thecrime and know all the clues or for doing a mobster I need to get the wire tapped. Youkind of know what you are looking for and you do not know if you will get it all, but youknow, this was a story where there was a sense of, "What I am going to find, I amchasing a mirage almost who disappeared some 80 years ago and was he nuts?" I meanthere are some evidence he wasÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Nuts in a certain way.Nuts in a certain way. I would say the two things that were most satisfying, becausethere were so unexpected was meeting up with some of the tribes that he had stay withinthe jungle. And learning that they have oral histories about Fawcett and his expedition,because they were among the first white men that they have ever seen. And this momentwas such a historic moment in their history. And as you were saying going over theydescribe this oral history which is almost like an epic poem. It is very Homeric it is quitebeautiful, and have an incredible clues. And that is kind of one of those reportorialmiracles where you kind of say,"I got the treasure." And in the other element which isprobably even more astonishing was finding this evidence in a very region where Fawcetthave been looking for Z. There was an archeologist that spent a more than a decade inthe region, excavating and had found evidence of 20 pre-Columbian settlements.This is, Heckenberger?Michael Heckenberger, that is right.How, because in the book it seems like you only stumble on Heckenberger when youarrived in the village. Is that what happened? Because how did you not, you mustknown about it.Yes, I have spoken to an archeologist, a guy named Peterson, Jim Peterson a lovely guyfromÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ he have worked to the University of Vermont. And we are very sad, he was theone who told me, there was this great debate going on and on in archeological circles.Was the jungle will kind of counterfeit paradise. A place that could not havesophisticated societies and then this was kind of faction. A revisionist who argue thatwas not true, that there really could be evidence. And he have told me, you got to go tryto find this guy, Heckenberger. He is in the jungle, I trained him and but he neverresponds any communications and you are not going to find him. So give up, but tryanywaysÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and eventually to the University, I got him on some sat phone and I couldhear jungle and he kind of said, "Well if you make it down into the jungle you can findme." And then I found out he was doing research very near with that, 1996 expedition ofthat kidnapped which give me a little bit of pause. So I have some sense he was there,and helped pushed me onÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ But I have no concept of all this kind of, the plethora of allthese things that he had found. Just as a coda to that story, Jim Peterson, Amazon is anextremely violent place as a frontier. It is kind of like the wild west was in years ago inthe United States. With loggers coming in and prospectors going in and when I wasdoing my trip, I, Jim has said, maybe come meet up when we near Manaos. I am doingsome research and he was killed, he was shot when I was doing that, on my trip notesvery saddening. Made a dedication to him, because he really was instrumental in my trip.That is very sobering. You talk about your work and you read your piece and your workabout the search of the giant squid. And by the way you know, OÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢Shea sounds like hewas the captain in Jaws.I was thinking of Blythe, but no in Jaws. I cannot rememberÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦You know, it is like Ahab. He seem like a complete nutter.Yes, I love OÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢Shea. He was a wonderfully eccentric. Just a terrific guy.This is a guy who was hunting for the giant, the proof of the giant, more sort ofmythological, yes.It turned out kind of true, I guess myth and truth. But he was a little bit nutty and oneof the things that described in the book is that, because you kind of keep probing thisquestion about me is that. I am by very nature, sedentary or reportorial and bookish andwhen I do these stories, they tend to follow people who do very adventurous things.There often somewhat obsessive by nature. O'Shea was that spent years trying to find agiant squid in fact he opened up his garage where he lived and he have this dead giantsquid. No one had found a living giant squid at that point, he had dead giant squids.These are 30, 40 feetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Yes, just enormous giant squid and he took me out on an adventure, a quest to try to find,he was looking for a baby giant squid which he thought if he could find a baby, he canthen grow it in captivity. Which has never been done and he let, there have been aessentially, it was not a tsunami, but it was like a hurricane or some sort. And he stilldetermine to go and let me hop into his little boat and in about 25 foot seasÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦So you are using this characters, who seem like they coming out of old adventure seriesas cover for your own adventurous and spirit.I suppose or something there is something there. You know, that kind of that alternate tomy reality.You said at one point your articles are often about obsession. About ordinary peopledriven to do extra-ordinary things. But really that is kind of what every good storiesabout, is not it? You find in your case, there is a great quote it is been mold over manyyears about courage. Which is courage is not the absence of fear it is actions in the faceof fear. You must have felt that on anyone one of these journeys.Well certainly with O'Shea, I was terrified in those waves.You are more terrified than when you were on the Amazon? That isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦No, I was more scared on the jungle. Yes, I was more scared on the jungle. Uh, I oftenwhen I think of these subjects with obsessions. I think of them, people obsessed are oftenjust more interesting. And one of the reasons we are drawn to them is, because they aremore. I am suppose that all writers can make anybody interesting. But people who arekind of driven and pushing themselves, somebody was compelled to try to find the giantsquid. It is just by nature kind of interesting and so that is an attraction. But I do thinkthat there are parallels in as you are saying in writing and certainly in even biographicalquest and in the course of my research with Fawcett. I have spent years researchingFawcett. Tracking down his letters and diaries and going all around the world. And therewere moments where I felt like you read about biographers who go slightly mad withtheir subjects. And there were moments where you know, he is driving me a bit batty,especially when I was lost in the wilderness.Yes, there was veryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ all of it is compelling, but there is a very powerful description ofyour actually your guide goes ahead and you know, for like a sound of a couple of hoursyou are wandering through the jungle. We are talking about all these mythology and thegreat myths, not just of history that these explorers then pursue. But the myth that theyhave become like Fawcett. And there is, your book is being turn into a screenplay.Because it was sent to the guys doing the screenplay, writer, director by Brad Pitt. Andso I am just wondering if I ask you before if you watch reality shows, you said you didnot, but the modern day mythology more often is connected to things like Brangelinathan it is to kind of this more heroic, adventuresome tales. I do not know if that issomething that strikes you, what is this sort of modern day equivalent of Fawcett? Otherthan you going in there after.I knew even that one of things that they are trying to show, is that the world has changeso much. So when you are asking, you have yellow fever and you have your sat phoneand so Fawcett in many ways really did. I think the human nature has not change. Andthese questors are wired in us. I mean there is a reason why movies always made aboutquest and that. These things will get re-made and people still re-write or haggard in theLost World and Indiana Jones is so popular. I think there is something about quest in thismythology. I mean stories that go back to the earliest poems into the Greeks and thefairytales are just wired in us. I do not think that has gone away. But the Earth andtechnology has changed, the Earth itself has not change. But you knowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦The relationshipÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦The relationship with humans to the Earth and google earth has certainly change otherway. So a lot of that mystic has change. But I think the interesting in these stories andone of things I think that makes Fawcett very interesting and I hope in the book that I tryto do is, I wanted to. There are a lot of mythical elements to the story, but I also wantedto peel back mythology to present Fawcett as not as a boys romance, but sometimeshappens in this boy story. He is an extremely complicated character and he does thingsthat are very dark and he is very maniacal in the jungle. I mean there are so many thingsto admire about him, he is daring, his curiosity. The way he treats the Indians comparedto other people at that time period. Other Europeans and yet when he was on thesetracks, he was maniacal. He have very little mercy on the man who are with him.Nothing could stand in his way. He would drive you onÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ someone like me. I mean hejust have no mercy and he would drive them and then he made a decision that for me isfundamental. And something I have to wrestle within and have a son at the time I was onnow I have a daughter too. He took his son into the jungle, who could never beenexploring. I meanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦Who wanted to be a movie star?He wanted to be a movie star, he looked like a movie star. And he hope to return at withhis fame it become a Britton movie star and he led him into the jungle and led him to hisdeath. So I think the story has the mythical elements, but I also wanted to peel back themyth and also even with the science and stuff like that.Is there any danger in a sense in solving mysteries and not having sufficient number ofmysteries left to solve or did they just be mysteries?No it is true. I think one of things that makes the world so interesting and the things thatthat are unknown. There is always a slight sadness. I mean what is in many ways sadderthan when man walk on the moon. Where is there kind of great accomplishment and isone of the great scientific feats. You know, it was heroic and evokes this great romance.And yet you know, when you look up at the sky and you didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t know exactly what wason the moon, it was kind of one of these great mysteries of romance, and now we kind ofknow and weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve seen it. So, I think there is always a certain mixture of both excitementand a tinge of sadness in these stories. I think even at the end of the story there's a slightsadness. Science is progressing and these discoveries are unbelievably astonishing andfascinating, with what's happening now with archaeology in the Amazon, and yet we likethe world to have some blank spots.Well, he describes the Amazon as a blank spot, and you sort of, you know, look aroundand start thinking what's left in terms of blanks spots. Anyway, thank you.Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate it.So we have been having a really fascinating conversation with David Grann who is theauthor of The Lost City of Z which is now out and available. Thanks David.