Jango was the last democratically elected president, before the army took power in 1964. To this he ows the image of a President who wanted to change the country, but was stopped by conservative forces. Marco Antonio Villa makes clear that this reputation is fully unwaranted. In all his years in politics it is hard to find an idea, phrase or law, in short anything that he left as a legacy. In fact Jango invited the Military in by his erratic handling of the 1964 crisis.
The writer states that historians should stick to the facts and is not afraid that this will lead to a mere list of events. Yet this is the weak point of the book. All the events are there, but at times it is difficult to place them in a wider context or appreciate the importance of events, and see the bigger picture.
In the first and last chapter the writer breaks his own rule, making this the two most interesting chapters. In the first chapter we follow Jango's road to the presidency. A post he would never have reached without the head start he was given by his political mentor and some luck. In the last chaper Jango's role in Brazilian politics and his personality are summarized.
In the intervening chapters we have read everything about the political events from 1961 to 1964. A time when there was always rumour about a coup. Either from the left, from Jango to extent his presidential powers, or from the military. Reading this acoount one wonders what would have happened if an abler politician had handled this crisis. Jango started his presidency with support from the military, but squandered it all. Could Brazil have been saved from 20 years of military rule?