From Publishers Weekly
With over 3 million square miles of territory and 4,600 miles of shoreline, Brazil is the fifth largest nation in the world. In this impressively concise history, Levine, the director for the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Miami, provides a short, accessible overview of the country's complicated history and its many social contradictions. Like the other books in the Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series (The History of Turkey, The History of Germany, etc.), this volume functions as sort of extended encyclopedia entry, which "synthesizes much of the current social literature on Brazil" while it introduces readers to the country's geography, economic and social systems, politics, history, and culture. In Levine's analysis, Brazil emerges as a country riddled with contradictions-a place where law requires all citizens over age 18 to vote, but praxis regularly undermines the country's commitment to democracy. (In the 1998 presidential election, 30% of the ballots were invalidated or reported blank.) And despite efforts by reformists, Brazilian politics continue to be dominated by a wealthy, privileged minority whose decisions maintain Brazil's status as one of the most unequal societies in the world. Even with such weighty problems, Brazil has promise, Levine suggests-it is a major recipient of foreign investment and seeks to wield greater influence internationally. With a timeline of important dates in Brazilian history, a listing of notable Brazilian personalities and an epilogue that provides direction for further reading, Levine's book is a good starting point for anyone interested in moving beyond the popular conception of Brazil as the land of Carnival and samba.
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Praise for Levine's Secret Missions to Cuba:
"..a valuable contribution to any understanding of the politics and personalities of the Cuban exile in Miami."--Joan Didion