- Series: Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations (Paperback)
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (October 15, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1403962553
- ISBN-13: 978-1403962553
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,525,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The History of Brazil (Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations (Paperback)) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading "A History of Brazil" is like watching a good film on a faulty projector: you are glad you sat through it, but you can't forget all the annoying moments when the film skipped or went out of focus.
However, it presents the material from a particular viewpoint that makes its coverage somewhat selective, and possibly misleading on some topics. The underlying assumption of the book is that Brazil up until the 1990's was divided into a well-to-do politically empowered elite and an impoverished and mostly illiterate underclass, with little social mobility and no political influence. This assumption is too simplistic. At least by 1960 there was a large and thriving middle class, ranging from skilled industrial workers to well-educated professionals and a great number of independent small businessmen. Although these people were generally not rich, they could lead reasonably comfortable lives, and their political influence was (and has continued to be) much greater than Levine makes clear. For example, the social unrest that led to the military 1964 coup against President Goulart was most prominent in the middle class; I can testify to that because I was there while the strikes, demonstrations and protests were becoming more and more vigorous during 1961, '62 and '63, and I saw where the impetus was coming from.
A key fact that few Americans know (and even many Brazilians don't know) is that over the last 200+ years, the average rate of growth of GDP in Brazil has been higher than the average rate of growth of GDP in the United States.Read more ›
Of the modern works, I would highly recommend Joseph Page's "The Brazilians" and advise readers to steer clear of Peter Robb's "Death in Brazil" which is one of the worst books I have ever read.*
Levine's attempt is a short academic history rather than a travel book or personal account of living in Brazil and gives a good introduction and incisive view of how Brazil is so different from the other countries in Latin America. Unfortunately, it ends in 1999 just before Lula became president and Brazil assumed a more prominent role on the world stage. Time for an update, Mr. Publisher if you read this!
Trying to encapsulate this story into a short volume is a hard task especially when you consider that Brazil is the size of a continent and one of the most racially-mixed, regionally-divided and socially-unequal countries in the world.
Brazil has always been different from other Latin American countries. While Spain's Latin American colonies broke into a number of separate states after bloody conflicts with Spain and each other, Brazil remained united and its independence from Portugal was relatively peaceful.
Brazil was also officially an empire for over 60 years and expanded its territory by force, coercion and diplomacy although modern Brazilians who complain about American and European imperialism do not like to be reminded of this.
It was dominated for 30 years in the mid-20th century by dictator Getulio Vargas who managed to bring opposing sides together in a way that marks Brazilian political life and baffles foreigners.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly informative and superbly written (for an academic).Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
The History of Brazil (Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations)is an excellent read. Was purchased so could become familiar with the history of Brazil before the upcoming World... Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Ross
This book, has lots of information. It's useful. However, it's a terrible read and by far the worst history book I've ever read. Read morePublished on August 1, 2010 by Nicholas K. Chalko