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Hardcover Brazil: The Once and Future Country Book

ISBN: 0312162006

ISBN13: 9780312162009

Brazil: The Once and Future Country

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

As the most comprehensive introduction to Brazil available in English, Brazil: The Once and Future Country shows Brazil to be a land of the marvellous and the mystical, the sublime and the tragic.... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent Overview

Such a pleasure to read a book by an academic. Eakin is a historian who understands Brazil. The book is not perfect, but it is solid, useful, and interesting. First, it is well-organized: before offering thematic chapters of deeper insight, Eakin provides a quick 60-page history from the fifteenth century to 1997. This is useful both for newcomers to become familiar with the Brazilian context and for others to review the legacies of colonization and peaceful independence, the strange tales of Kings Joao and Pedro, slavery and abolition, the tragi-comic Vargas, and the military regimes. Brazil has a rich and fascinating history, and Eakin does well to place its recent iterations in a long-term context. Next come four thematic chapters on the land, people, politics, and economics, each divided into useful essays so a reader can quickly read about topics from soccer and carnaval to the convoluted political machinations of the 1980s. Broad themes underlie the discussion: the sheer magnitude of the slave trade (that dwarfed that in the U.S.) and how it shaped society, the social trends that created the most unequal distribution of wealth in the world, and the series of export products (gold, sugar, rubber, and coffee) that contributed in waves to social development.On the other hand, readers will occasionally stumble over clunkers, particularly when comparisons are drawn with the U.S: "Much like New York City, Rio is a city whose era has passed"; "To be considered white in the United States, one cannot have any non-white ancestors"; the claim that an "estimated" 90 percent of Brazilian adults play the lottery. The economic analysis is helpful, but never profound, and there are occasional head-shakers: "In both [Brazil and the U.S.] deficit spending and foreign debt have made it difficult to marshal the resources to address fundamental social ills." The discussion of race relations -a deeply complicated subject that Eakin navigates with some success- is thoughtful. "Brazilians discriminated, but on the basis of color, and there were many shades. North Americans discriminated on the basis of race, and there were but two"; "How is it possible to build a movement around consciousness of being black when most non-whites do not see themselves as black and do not wish to be considered black?"As other reviewers have noted, the book is in need of a real update. Most of the research ends about 1995, although there are a few references to events as late as 1997. The decade of the 1990s has been a fascinating period for Brazilians, with the FHC administration, the Real Plan, the Argentine collapse, and the effects of globalization. A good book, in need of a some new text. It could also benefit from a few more maps and some historical photos.

Great book for an initial understanding.. somewhat outdated

if it only had been more recent, it would be excellent. A shame that it was written just before the '99 crisis. Great book. The author makes a conscious effort to document the historical and economic reasons that shaped Brazil's evolution.


Oh yea, Brazil!!!!!!! Great for the student interested in Brazil civ.

An excellent summary of Brazilian history

Dr. Eakin has written a lively history of Brazil which is well worth reading for students of the subject!

A Panoramic Survey

Eakin certainly provides an in-depth, panoramic survey of Brazil that is quite interesting. As to "Brazil being the country of the future," that's really a tired old cliche. Brazil is what it is, and it's not a world power. As far as Eakin's book goes, it covers most everything except for the very important category of music -- for that I would recommend "The Brazilian Sound" (Temple University Press).
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