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Samba Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 30, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067973256X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679732563
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rio de Janeiro's carnival, seen in the foreign film Black Orpheus , is the site of an annual samba competition. "Guillermoprieto vividly presents the individual stories of principal participants, analyzes the feelings they express in their music and dance, describes the contributions of the various samba schools and offers his interpretation of black Brazilian history and culture," said PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Every year the favela (poor sections on the hills of the city) of Rio organize teams of Samba dancers to compete in the yearly carnival. The author follows the preparations from the perspective of the champion Manguiera team, 5000 strong, and finds a serious community project to which all contribute despite their poverty and the high cost of costumes. The Manguiera team honors its African roots in its themes. Tempers and emotions escalate, leading to inevitable disasters which last for months, until finally all collapse into a black and white mass of unfettered sensualism at carnival. This delightful book gives a glimpse into a culture of poverty and its art form, about which too little has been written in English. Photographs would have added to the fun of reading; nevertheless, this will be popular with general readers.
-Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Lib., Gainesville
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm not a musicologist and couldn't tell you if the music info here is 100% accurate. As someone who's lived in and studied Brazil for 11 years however, I found the author's descriptions of favela life to be very well done. There's information here I've never seen elsewhere. Her musicology may leave a lot to be desired, but to say her opinion on race and cultural issues in Brazil is flat-out wrong strikes me as the opinion of someone with a nativist axe to grind. Perhaps some readers originally thought this book's primary focus /was/ samba when they bought it. That is not the case: it's a well written amateur ethnology of favela life. Be forewarned. Read this book if you want a decent (if necessarily superficial) introduction to the life of the urban poor in modern Brazil. For samba, specifically, or a more advanced analysis, I suggest Hermano Vianna's Mystery of Samba or anyone of a number of academic works on Brazil, starting with Freyre's "Masters and Slaves" or Da Matta's "Carnivals, Rogues and Heroes."
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a good book written by a journalist who consistently produces some of the most insightful work on Latin America in the U.S. print media. Writing from a journalist's perspective about her own experiences as a white Mexican living in Brazil it's a great read. I was captivated when I read it. Other reviewers are correct, there are better studis of all the subjects she covers, and as a Latin American historian, lusophile, and student of Capoeira I could find flaws to; here historical sections are simplistic, etc. But why bother? She did live there and join a Samba school, she freely admits her limitations, concerns, and desires, and she writes like a dream. That is hard to find and worth reading.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. McKeon on February 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Guillermoprieto is both a skilled writer and a serious scholar. That combination makes this erudite, and exceedingly detailed study of the black underclass in Brazilian society both readable and engaging. She employs an inductive approach, using the culture surrounding the Samba and Carnival in Rio as a base for exploring the status of blacks in Brazilian society and the many contradictions and ironies in light of their prevailing influence in all levels of Brazilian culture.
The story is fascinating and the author admirable, because in order to learn and effectively represent the culture of the Samba and black Brazilian society (which she pretty effectively demonstrates are in many ways largely synonymous) she not only joined a Samba club in order to participate in Carnival, but also moved into the favelas of Rio.
Guillermoprieto depicts the injustice of the blacks' fate in Brazil in a dispassionate, yet also very poignant and sympathetic manner. She allows the compelling facts to represent themselves without embellishing them with personal assessments, which makes her writing that much more powerful.
This is really a great book: a fascinating story about the complex organization and serious part of the Brazilian economy that the Samba and Carnival comprise, and a distinctive and holistic representation of black Brazilian society and the rest of that nation in its reflection.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Samba is a highly personal account by a journalist who takes us into the center of the carnival experience in Rio, seen from the point of view of a very poor neighborhood with a rich carnival tradition. Through this we learn worlds about Afro-Brazilian culture, the notion of "exotic" as often applied to the tropics, and about Ms. Guillermoprieto's fascinating way of understanding and relating, as a Mexican, to a powerful Latin tradition quite other than hers. While there are some problems of organization, this is a very informative book, but mostly I found it fun, and it made me want to be in Rio and to dance.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "mrmandalay" on May 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in learning the true roots of Samba and Brazilian Carnaval(and not just the obligatory blurbs that you see in guidebooks), then this book is an absolute must for you to read. Alma Guillermoprieto does a superb job describing the rich religious, historical, and socioeconomic roots of Brazilian Carnaval and Samba - both of which have become famous around the world, yet remain remarkably poorly understood.
Guillermoprieto writes in a very engaging, enjoyable style, which occassionally seems more like an engrossing novel than a non-fiction work. If you have ever been curious to learn more about Brazilian culture, this is the book to start with!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
While Carnival in Brazil has become trendy for the elite white population and thousands of tourists, little has been written from an insider's view. Alma Guillermoprieto participated in Carnival not as a wealthy outsider, but as a local in Rio's slums. She spent four months living with hardworking individuals who have little to eat or wear, but spend countless time, energy and what little money they have for the February holiday and events. One of the best views of Brazil from an outsider on the inside.
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