Americans on Brasil: a reading list – November 2005

3Brazilians are very curious what people from other countries think about them. Even more so, if you are from the only remaining superpower and former colony, the USA. The online version of current affairs magazine Veja published the following list with the most important books written by Americans about Brazil. The list is based on the book O Brasil dos Brasilianistas. Foreigners who study Brazil are called Brasilinianistas, their science is called Brasilianismo.

Paulo Roberto de Almeida

The 20 most influential politicians of Brazil’s 20th century – September 2005

getulio_vargasA few years ago, in 2000, I think, Isto ?magazine sponsored a project to determine the greatest Brazilians of the twentieth century. The results were specific for different sectors (politics, science, art, etc…) and were determined by a panel of experts in each area. The original ranking can be found here. On the site an alternative list was made because as the writer puts it: in general, about 70% to 80% of the people selected in each category are not bad choices, but in all modesty I think I can do better.

John Deal

Brazil’s economic policy since 1930 – July 2005

dinheiroIn her book Estado e economia no Brasil: op?oes de desenvolvimentoSonia Regina de Mendon?a describes the economic development in Brazil since 1930. Focussing on the role of the State in this process and the ideology that underpins each phase. She summarizes her book in the following way.

Sonia Regina de Mendon

Population in Rio?s favelas reaches one million – December 2004

rocinhaThe following article was published in O Globo on December the 20th 2004.
The municipality of Rio de Janeiro has 1,092,476 persons living in favelas, according to the figures of the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE)and the Instituto Pereira Parros (IPP). They form 18.9% of the population.

O Globo

Funny, beautiful and interesting Portuguese words – November 2004

hummingbirdWritten Portuguese and Spanish are very similar. While speaking Brazilians add their melodious accent and rich slang. Making it so hard to understand them in the beginning, but such a joy when you mastered it. The Brazlian creativity is also shown in the way words gain new meaning and the incorporation of English words in the language.

Gerben Janse

Year round Carnival in Lapa (Rio) – October 2004

lapa_noiteLapa is the place to go if you like your party informal, loud and with cheap drinks. People start gathering in the streets early but it doesn?t get really crowded until midnight. The bars and clubs get crowded even later unless they have a show that starts earlier. There are always some samba bands playing on the streets and each club has it?s own music style with matching clientele. The most popular Brazilian music styles are represented (including funk) as well as american Hip Hop.

Gerben Janse

Who was Chico Mendes? – June 2004

Chico’s father, Francisco Mendes, arrived in the remote estate of Acre in 1926, in the wild and isolated occidental Amazon near Bolivia and Peru, to work in the development of rubber made from the heveas. He was escaping from the extreme poverty of the “sert?n” in the deserted state of Cear? -the other vertex of Brazil. Strangely the Mendes had fought there against a highway project which brought an avalanche of flagelados, another reason for them to emigrate.


Lula – The Fan-President – January 2002

When Brazil’s Finance Minister Antonio Palocci hobbled into Congress on crutches last April, he bore an injury that resulted from a brutal confrontation with a senior union leader. Tension between government and unions is common in most countries, and scores are sometimes settled with violence. In Brazil’s case, however, the minister’s broken ankle was sustained during a game of football at the presidential palace.

Alex Bellos

0-1500: Pre-colonial History – January 2002

indiansOriginal Settlers

Archaeologists have dated the human pres?ence in the Rio de Janeiro area and the Serra da Capivara in northeast Brazil to about 50,000 years ago, among the earliest dates in the whole American continent. It’s generally believed that the pre-Hispanic in?habitants of the Americas arrived from Siberia in waves of migration between about 60,000 and 8000 BC, crossing land now submerged beneath the Bering Strait, then making their way gradually southward.

Lonely Planet Brazil

1987 Moment of Promise and Pain – March 1987

1987_Moment_of_Promise_and_PainBehold the Brazilian whooping crane: Roberto Gaspar de Oliveira, wealthy landowner, an endangered species, and a man struggling to contain his fury. It was his land. His land, you must understand. An undeveloped part of his family property in the northeastern state of Ceara was to be taken away under a new agrarian-reform act and divided among landless peasants. The government would pay for it, but the terms were unacceptable to Gaspar. He had demanded that federal mediators examine the case.

National Geographic, March 1987

Brazil: the view from 1941 – January 1941

stefan_zweigThe jewish Austrian writer Stefan Zweig had to flee Austria because of the Nazi’s. After a period in England he went to Brazil in 1941. There he writes the book:Brazil:Land of the Future. Brazil is portraid as heaven on earth. Free from the horrors that are leading to millions of deads in Europe. In 1942 Stefan Zweig and his wife commit suicide in Petropolis because they are disillusioned by the news from Europe. Here I reproduce the introduction of his book because it gives a very interesting although overly positive view of Brazil.
(The text is in Dutch, as soon as I have the English version, I will change this)

Stefan Zweig