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The Brazilians Paperback – Sep 6 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Vast in area, rich in resources and uniquely integrated in racial composition, here is Brazil in all its beauty, contradictions, promises and disappointments. Page (Peron), whose love affair with the country spans 30 years, probes deep into the layers of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, African and Indian heritage that make Brazil so alluring and paradoxical. Idealistic and pragmatic, exuberant and passive, its people have survived colonialism, slavery, dictatorships and populism and now struggle toward a viable capitalism in a society characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty. The successful synergism of many races-"miscegenation has been a common and accepted practice"-exists side by side with real discrimination. In this magnetizing study, Page also explores the meld of Catholicism and Pentecostalism, of native Indian healers and modern medicine, of African rhythms and Western music. He discusses the environmental and investment scenes as well as the addiction to soccer and to the telenovelas of the powerful Globus media empire, which so engross the population that the realities of life often seem to merge with their plots and characters. In its depth, scope and accessibility, this is an important work.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It's not surprising that it would take 500-plus pages to define the Brazilians, and Page's definition is as remarkably cogent--given its length--as it is complete, compelling, and insightful. The spotlight in his "search for Brazilianness" illuminates all corners of this vast hemispheric neighbor of ours, achieving a many-angled perspective by drawing from events and traits in Brazilian history, politics, economics, natural history, and culture. His workable, wonderfully presented description of the Brazilian national character incorporates the impact of Portuguese, African, and indigenous Indian influences, the disproportion of wealth in the modern Brazilian state, the abundance of natural resources being squandered by ecological mindlessness, the easy coexistence of Roman Catholicism and African-based religions, and the peculiar personal psychology that leaves Brazilians at once charming and violent. No book substitutes for real experience, but this book runs a close second in terms of affording an understanding of Brazil. Brad Hooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Although Page presents a comprehensive view of Brazil, he unfortunately neglects two topics that should be part of any portrait of the country. The first is its much-maligned capital, Brasília, which gets hardly a mention in this book. Brasília's founding in the late 1950's, its rapid growth and its decline into a moth-eaten, sun-baked museum of outmoded architectural ideas could have filled an entire chapter. For an engaging and upbeat view of Brasília -- more positive than anything I've ever heard from the Brazilians themselves, all of whom seem to loathe their capital -- check out Alex Shoumatoff's "The Capital of Hope."
Page also doesn't say much about Brazilian food and drink, which is too bad, because from the moquecas of Pernambuco to the huge steaks of the South to the fish of the Amazon, Brazilian cuisine is a delight. A cup of Brazil's strong coffee accompanied by pão de queijo, a kind of popover laced with cheese, makes a breakfast fit for an emperor.Read more ›
The book is colorful, and I am particularly grateful to the author for not neglecting popular culture in favor of socio-economic data. The chapters on telenovelas, the Carnival, and Soccer were particularly interesting and enlightening. I think it is great that he refers to book and movie portrayals of various events in his discussion of certain events - it helps bring everything together when he mentions, that scene in "The Mission..." A flood of images returns and suddenly everything is in a larger context. I thought it was superb that he spend careful attention discussing the history and character of various states. All too often, life outside the 'captial' cities of a country are neglected. Who would characterize the US by New York City or Russia by Moscow, or Japan by Tokyo?
The only downside is the portrayal of poverty and violence. While important topics, I came away with the impression that the author was arguing that Brazil was especially violent, poverty-stricken and unjust... I doubt that it is much more so than other lesser-developed countries, and probably some US inner-cities. Some un-baised comparative data would have been appropriate here to put it all in context.
For anyone planning to travel to Brazil that wants to get beyond the basic tourist-guide understanding of the country, I highly recommend the book.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great book if you are interest in the history and culture of Brazil. It's obvious that the author did extensive research on the subject and he does a very good job... Read morePublished on April 15 2003 by Alexandre Freitas
This book effectively captures the spirit of "brazilianess" and presents it to the reader in an easy to understand format. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2003
I wish my college textbooks had been written this well! Page's book is chock full of information about Brazil's history, politics, economy, culture, environmental issues,... Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2002
I have visited Brazil on two occasions and this book brought much of what I sensed into focus. It helped clear up some of the mysteries and left the rest intact. Read morePublished on March 22 2002 by Gerald Halpin
My wife and I met in Seminary. She is from Brazil and we plan on moving there when I graduate. I have been to Brazil several times over the past few years and have fallen in love... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001 by J. Gardner
Brazil has certainly captured the imagination of most people around the world mainly because of its biological diversity, the carnival in Rio, and its soccer superstars. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2000 by Carlos R. Lugo-Ortiz
This book is marvelous. It offers plenty of keen insight into Brazil, and helps explains why Brazil is such an enthralling country. Read morePublished on Dec 14 1999 by J. Wright
Having read most of the introductory books on Brazil, I find the books by Joseph Page to be an excellent basic resource and an enjoyable read to boot.Published on June 26 1999 by Derek Footer
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