Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink Hardcover – July 28, 2015
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"[A] fascinating urban chronicle...[readers] will come away with a sense of having been there." (Publishers Weekly)
“In a book that’s akin to Charlie LeDuff’s Detriot, Barbassa combines history and personal interviews in an informative and engaging work, showing a nation whose people desire a better country but are at odds with the government and even themselves at the best way to achieve that result.” (Library Journal)
A powerful work ofreportage. Eloquent, heartfelt, and thorough, Barbassa is a brilliant guide tothe underside of Brazil’s showcase city. If you want to understand twenty firstcentury Rio de Janeiro, read this book. (Alex Bellos, author of Futebol: the Brazilian Way of Life)
Returning to Rioafter years abroad, Juliana Barbassa takes the reader on a journey of urbanexploration beyond the tourist clichés of Ipanema and Carnival. Her book, Dancingwith the Devil in the City of God, seamlessly melds deep reporting withnuanced memoir, providing an insider’s guide to a global city of immenseenergy, appetites, heartbreak and danger. To understand Rio’s prospects for the21st century, come with Barbassa on her voyage of inquiry andrediscovery. It’s a trip worth taking. I savored every moment. (Ambassador Derek Shearer, Director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, Occidental College, Los Angeles)
Juliana Barbassa haswritten a beautiful yet unflinching meditation on one of the world's greatcities during a moment of profound change. Her book is a moving examination ofthe immense charms, staccato violence and unfulfilled promise of the marvelouscity and of the heart of modern Brazil. (Michael Deibert, author of In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America's Drug War in Mexico)
A timelytour-de-force…Drawing on the city’s history, geography, social structure,culture, political intrigues, and economic disparities, Barbassa has written amultidisciplinary masterpiece. This splendid and accessible narrative is mustreading not just for the journalists, spectators, and athletes who will be inRio for the Olympic Games, but for anyone who has visited Rio – or not – andhas been caught up in the magnetic attraction of this spectacular andcomplicated city. (Dr. Robert Maguire, Director of the Brazil Initiative at the Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University)
Ibecame unexpectedly choked up not once but twice in the introduction alone andfound myself sucked into the most in-depth, personal and thorough unfolding ofBrazil’s history on the brink of its economic rebirth. Whether as ananticipatory read before Brazil hosts the Olympics in 2016 or to better grasp acountry so rich, complex and divided by extreme dualities of lifestyles, thisis a book that you will be unable to set down. Juliana Barbassa brings usboth a journalistic and introspective vantage point of a country in the midstof a metamorphose with the unique angle of a native born Brazilian returninghome forever a foreigner after living abroad for much of her life with awell-worn passport. Contemporarily relevant, uniquely compelling, exquisitelywritten and brilliantly delivered, I anticipate many readers, like myself, willfind our passport soon bearing the stamp of Brazil thanks to Barbassa. (Jesica Sweedler DeHart, BookPeople of Moscow (Moscow, Idaho))
Riode Janeiro is one of the world's most exotic cities and much in the news overthe past few years with the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics upcoming in2016. Journalist and Brazilian native Juliana Barbassa presents a complexportrait of a city, country and society attempting to present the best possibleface to the world while having to confront numerous problems in its ownsociety, particularly a criminal level that is almost beyond belief. Herdescription of this massive change being attempted from on high and thedisruption to an entrenched society is informative, instructive and mesmerizingas she strips bare the glitter and glitz of the beaches and gives us the trueRio. (Bill Cusumano, Square Books (Oxford, MS))
IsBrazil ready to take its place as the 6th largest world economy andis Rio ready to host the 2016 summer Olympics? Will the monumentalsocial and political changes currently underway last beyond the final medalceremony? Barbassa's well written and informative expose is a fascinatinglook at Rio’s history and attempts to transform itself into a safe, democraticand ultimately modern city.” (Phyllis Spinale, Wellesley Books)
“In Julia Barbassa's fascinating new book, easy assumptions are peeled back to expose a place struggling to define its present and its future. . . . [S]he is both a knowledgable insider and a fiercely critical outsider. . . . Brazil is indeed on the brink, on a precipice ready to soar or fall, or perhaps, as Barbassa suggests, fated to remain forever poised, waiting for liftoff.” (Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News)
About the Author
Juliana Barbassa was born in Brazil, but she had a nomadic life between her home country and Iraq, Malta, Libya, Spain, France, and the United States before settling in Switzerland. Barbassa began her career with the Dallas Observer, where she won a Katie Journalism Award in 1999. She joined the Associated Press in 2003, and after two more awards from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the APME, she returned to Brazil in 2010 as the AP’s Rio de Janeiro correspondent. Dancing with the Devil in the City of God is her first book.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Juliana Barbassa was born in Rio, but spent a good deal of her life in other parts of the world. Dancing With The Devil In The City Of God is more than a book about the 2014 World Cup and the forthcoming 2016 Olympic Games. It gives an account of how Brazil and Rio dealt with its dictatorship, then the booming economic times that gave the country legitimate impetus to bid for the two biggest global sporting events. Barbassa, using personal experiences, does not only paint a positive picture of her city and country, but she also describes the major issues and problems that a city such as Rio needs to deal with in order to manage the vast differences of personalities that inhabit her city. In all of this, she manages the interplay of Rio preparing for and managing the organisation of the World Cup and the Olympics.
This is a really good read as it paints a clear picture of life in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, warts and all. To the outsider who is not aware of Brazilian culture it may feel somewhat intimidating. On further inspection it can be revealed that Cariocas take all of the chaos in their stride and just go on with their lives. After all, if one is dancing with the devil, where else would one do this but in the city of God?
Obviously it’s the same story for any of the millions of tourists commuting between the airport and downtown, but I wonder how many really understood (I didn’t) where they were or what sometimes happened there. Rio only gets a certain amount of news coverage in England, but the recent World Cup and the looming 2016 Olympics have brought it more into the frame, and some very recent civil unrest would have achieved that anyway. The picture that I can give you is that the favelas are everywhere. On my first trip I caught my breath at the beauty of the ocean outlook from a corner of the Rua Prudente Moraes where I had a small self-catering apartment in a gated modern condo. Then I glanced up to my right and there it was -- a huge favela clinging by its teeth and eyebrows to the mountainside. Before that of course I had noticed the widespread downscale housing after leaving the airport, and the determined sellers of cheap rubbish crowding in on the taxi at every red light. Later I only had to take a walk of a couple of hundred yards from my daughter’s charming flat in another small gated condo in the Rua Almirante Alexandrino up in Santa Teresa to come to another hillside favela almost literally next door, with the flat roof of someone’s home literally within touching distance over a low wall.
Now match this up to Juliana’s tale here. What astonishes me after learning what happened is just how normal life contrived to be. It was one thing to exercise ordinary care and precaution, but there were epic shootouts going on elsewhere at times. The Red Command had got above itself and threatened that if any more clearouts happened in the favelas there would be no World Cup and no Olympics in Rio, Juliana reports. That did it, and the armed police went into Alemao for real. Police have established HQ’s in Alemao and other favelas now, but when Juliana reports that over time the distinction between police and baddies has become blurred why am I not surprised? Meantime back in Santa Teresa in 2008 I used to go down the Rua Monte Alegre to a cafe and read O Globo over morning coffee as it conducted earnest discussions over the rights and wrongs of using the army for internal order. Juliana seems more realistic: there is no death penalty in Brazil, but the police don’t need one, at least if they are the wrong kind of police. The army might have heavier weapons (sometimes needed) but they could lend those as required.
One memorable phrase that I learned was ‘para ingles ver’ -- for the English to see, used of cosmetic reforms posing as progress. There has been real progress in Rio, and Juliana says so, but not all that calls itself progress is the real thing, either in outcome or intention. Favela clearances uproot not only drugs lords but also the hardworking poor who often get little or nothing in compensation. The reader learns that such clearances are often to make way for upscale housing whatever the pretext, and once again why am I not surprised?
Juliana does not sound as if she is taking any particular political stance, but where reportage is as good as hers then res ipsa loquitur. We are taken to the Olympic preparations, continuing the World Cup heavy engineering, and we see eye-watering prices still, despite the economic downturn, being asked for apartments built over inadequate sewerage and blighted environment. Sometimes even the structure and infrastructure of the totemic buildings are unsound, and we can read about the issues with the Maracana stadium itself. This was closed to the public when I went to a football match in 2011 in the Engenhao. It was a drizzly Wednesday night certainly, but the stadium even has its own railway station. And this was a match between Botafogo and Palmeiras, the latter then managed by Big Phil Scolari himself, but despite all that and a magnificent-looking building, the public turnout was about what I might have expected at Wigan Athletic. Maybe they all knew something: the Engenhao turns out to have structural weaknesses, and as for Senhor Scolari, Juliana tells it all beautifully in a couple of closing chapters on Rio’s fate on the soccer field lately.
There is far more than this to Rio, and Juliana even finds space for some history. The sheer scope of her coverage is maybe what impresses me above all, but I can sing the book’s praises for all sorts of things, such as clarity, balance and elegant writing without pretence or affectation. My daughter and her family have now left Brazil, partly because of the economic slide but mainly because of the menacing diaspora from the favelas. President Dilma had better raise her game.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
August 5, 2016
By George Fulmore
This book will give one insight into Rio je...Read more