Brazil is a vast, complex country with great potential but an uneven history. This engaging study will introduce readers to the history of Brazil from its origins to today. It emphasizes current issues and problems, including the country's return to democracy after more than two decades of harsh military rule and the economic consequences of adopting free-market policies as part of the creation of the global marketplace. Levine, a noted Brazilianist, explains the legacy of slavery on race relations, the stubborn persistence of barriers to upward mobility, and the characteristics of Brazil's exuberant culture. The author draws not only from a broad array of traditional sources but from oral histories and postings on the Internet.
The history of Brazil unfolds in narrative chronological chapters beginning with the Portuguese conquest, then moving on to the colonial period, Independence, the nineteenth-century monarchy—the only one in Latin America—the Republic, the nationalist regime under Vargas, the eclipse of democracy under military rule in the 1960s and 1970s, and the current democratically elected government under Cardoso, who was elected in 1998 to his second term. Short biographical sketches of 40 prominent Brazilians, a glossary of Portuguese terms, and a bibliographical essay add reference value to this work. This is the only up-to-date history of Brazil, current through 1999.
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