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The best books on the history of Brazil
June 1, 2012 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I just got back from Brazil and want to read about its history. What are the best books in English? I'm particularly interested in the period from the arrival of the monarchy in 1808 to the founding of the republic in 1889.
posted by ocherdraco to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't have any actual history books to recommend (though you might check out the list of references at the end of this Wikipedia article), but I've learned a lot about Brazilian history of that period and later by reading the novels of Jorge Amado.
posted by languagehat at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2012


Thanks languagehat! I should add that books on the history of Latin America in general which also cover the history of Brazil are also welcome.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:11 PM on June 1, 2012


My friend Tom wrote this book on the politics and economics of the Brazilian sugarcane industry. I must admit that I haven't read it, but he's a very smart guy and a good writer, and I'm certain he knows his stuff.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2012


It covers a more modern period of history, but I love Cardoso's Accidental President of Brazil. It naturally talks about his rise to the presidency, but covers a lot of Brazilian politics in the 20th century, as Cardoso's family was very politically involved.

A much heavier but fascinating read is A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness. It details the evolution of Candomblé as a result of the Afro-Brazilian diaspora. Lots of primary sources, so it can be a little "thinky" but I still found it riveting.

Next on my own reading list is probably Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City, but that's probably more out of morbid curiosity than anything else!
posted by wallaby at 4:18 PM on June 1, 2012


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