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Library Journal Review
Levine's self-described "interpretive essay" looks at the social, cultural, economic, and political history of Brazil to offer insights on its present conditions and future prospects as it struggles to build democracy and promote economic development. Some of the "Brazilian legacies" he investigates include colonial rule, slavery, Catholicism, and military dictatorship. Levine's account is enriched by his own large repertoire of personal experiences in Brazil and his extensive use of Portuguese sources. (He is director of Latin American Studies at the University of Miami, Coral Gables.) Levine's juxtaposition of historical analysis and current events provides a deeper understanding of the complexity of the Brazilian reality: the implications of race relations, profound social and economic inequalities, and an authoritarian political culture that breeds corruption. Recommended for scholars.Tricia Gray, Miami Univ., Oxford, Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Levine (Univ. of Miami) is one of the most prolific and influential historians of Brazil, and this brief study shows why. Brazilian Legacies is an outstanding synthesis that reveals deep understanding of and sympathy for the Brazilian people. Levine chooses some of the most salient characteristics and factors of present-day Brazil and analyzes their historical roots. The work is organized topically rather than chronologically. Among the topics addressed are race, class, outsiders (both immigrants and those who live outside the social norms or power structures, such as women, children, and homosexuals), diverse religious beliefs, corruption, the political culture, and the role of diversions, such as television and carnival in helping Brazilians cope with the harsh realities of life (e.g., violence, low wages, lack of opportunity, inadequate social services). Levine focuses on the lives of ordinary Brazilians, although he pays a fair amount of attention to political developments and key actors, such as presidents Getulio Vargas, Fernando Collor de Mello, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Although it might be used as a companion text to a more traditional narrative of Brazilian history, this work will be valuable to general readers as well as undergraduates and graduate students. Enthusiastically recommended. W. M. Weis; Illinois Wesleyan University