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Captains of the Sands

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  13,341 ratings  ·  465 reviews
Living by their wits in the steamy slums of Bahia, a gang of orphans and runaways, led by fifteen-year-old "Bullet," spend their time stealing from Brazil's rich and privileged until public outcry demands their capture.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Avon Books (first published November 1937)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  13,341 ratings  ·  465 reviews

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Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J.L.   Sutton
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
The newspaper articles framing Jorge Amado’s Captains of the Sands provide a touch of realism while introducing the underlying conditions and hardships facing a group of orphans in Bahia. I liked this introduction and the first number of chapters that chronicled the exploits and streets smarts of the Captains of the Sands. This group is made up of about 100 youths who sleep in an abandoned warehouse and eke out a starvation existence by thieving. In the various chapters, the focus shifts between ...more
Luís C.
This book portrays the story of a group of orphaned children who lived on the streets of Bahia. They were a group of boys, known to all as the captains of the sand lived in an abandoned warehouse, near the beach and occupied their days trying to get what to eat or what to wear, often having to steal to get it. The majority of the city's inhabitants rejected them and despised them because of their flames of conflicting thieves and boys. Nevertheless, and although they sometimes made certain ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Capitães da Areia

Captains of the Sand was first published in 1937 and tells the lives of 100 street children living in the slums of Bahia, Brazil. Their gritty, harsh lives consists mainly by stealing and lying to get by under the leadership of Pedro Bala (Peter Bullet). The local authorities along with the Roman Catholic Church made it their mission to crack down on these street kids.

This could be a rather bleak tale (it is) but Jorge Amado builds the story with indelible personalities.

Pilar López
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it a few years ago at school. At first, me and my classmates refused about reading it: it was long and sounded bored. I personally love reading but it was hard starting with this one but whan I did, then, I just couldn't stay away from it. The same with my classmates. We all love it. We love every little single part of it. It made us all cry. It made us all fall in love with one of the characters. It made us all read it at least twice. We were around 60 people and now days we all say it's ...more
Caddy Compson
Nov 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Jorge Amado wanted to speak against the poverty and misery in Brazil, about all that made those young boys homeless thieves. But he romanticizes these boys in everything they do, even when they rape young black women for sport. In Amado’s books, men always seem to think in poor black women like objects, beings, there just for their pleasure, to cook and to have sex.
In a deeply disturbing scene, the hero [sic] Pedro Bala annaly rapes a fifteen years old black girl after she claims to be a virgin.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I started thinking as I was reading Jorge Amado's Captains of the Sands that it reminded me of A Clockwork Orange, both the novel and the movie. In both cases, there were criminal gangs of young toughs ruled by a canny chief, and both gangs were involved in mayhem, murder, and rape -- but unlike Clockwork, Amado takes his gang, named the Captains of the Sands, from young thugs into mythology. Instead of being involved in some strange pseudo-scientific rehabilitation scheme, what happens to the ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun pack of adventure tales that doubles as coming-of-age story and glimpse at grass-roots communism. It reads like a novel for adolescents, but clever, bad-ass adolescents who could intelligently grapple with underplayed scenes of rape, child abuse, and violence in general.

This novel is the sixth and last in a cycle of novels about his native Bahia (in Brazil) that Jorge Amado wrote in his early twenties. It's not a must-read but it's a quick and skipping one.
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all people.
Recommended to Anna by: Russian magazine "Around the World"
Shelves: classics
I read this book and crying. Crying with joy, crying with sorrow... I think, it's very emotional and sad roman about homeless children, which have friendship, but haven't mom's love and caress.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personally my favorite Brazilian author and my favorite book of his. Firstly read this at school and, even if I wasn't much of a reader at that time, I remember trading rest time to read this book. I could not concentrate while not finishing the story. The way things happens, described almost perfectly by Amado, binds you almost completely. You know it is a story, yet in between the words written Amado tells you and warns you with a pinch of reality. The characters are very outstanding, with ...more
Andy Weston
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
First published eighty years ago this is a powerful and moving novel about the lives of a gang of orphaned children living on the streets of Salvador. It had a huge impact when it was first published, a classic that is read by most Brazilian children at school, with a strong political message of inequality, the poverty that the children live in contrasted to the city’s wealthy citizens.
Amado focuses on five or six of the older characters in the gang, and it’s leader, as they struggle to survive
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final in a series that Amado called ‘The Bahian Novels’, written when he was twenty four, Captains of the Sands follows a group of homeless children as they beg, steal and con to survive, while they dream of something better, never knowing if the roots of their life are too entangled to let them go.

The leaders of the Captains try to help and protect all the boys in the group, providing a ultimately good, but slightly skewed moral compass, as they are forced to survive in a city that rejects
Jorge Amado is very well known among those like me, who had an 80’s childhood filled of Brazilian soap operas. One of the best was definitely “Tieta”, based on his book.

“Capitães da Areia” (Captains of the Sand) is always included in the classic Brazilian literature and is also quite popular in Portugal. But until now, I never got myself to read it. Maybe I feared it would be too sad or that the Brazilian use of Portuguese language would distract me. But none of this happened, and I loved the
This was enjoyable but the biggest problem I had with this book and made me take 6 months to finish it, was that it read more like a collection of stories with the same characters, than a novel.
Each chapter had an introduction or setup, then it went into the action which was nicely written and paced well and had a buildup that you couldn't stop reading and then the chapter ended and the next started again from zero and you had to introduce and build your interest up again. And most times, this
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This engaging novel about Brazil in all its colors and contradictions is wrongly compared to Lord of the Flies on the back cover of the book. I found it to be more of a combination of Tom Sawyer and Les Miserables, but with its young male protagonists possessing substantially more carnal knowledge.
Moushine Zahr
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Through this novel, I first discovered the great Brazilian author Jorge Amado (1912-2001), which I didn't know of the existence and its books before. This particular novel, published first in 1952, is definitely one of the best novels I've read this year because not only it is very well written and it is also about a very important and sensible theme of abandoned children living and surviving in the street. I've never read before a book about this theme so well written: either only one chapter ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A blog reader from Brazil (Hi Renan!) once recommended me this novel a long time ago. Though I haven't forgotten it, my reading list was rather long and therefore it took a little bit of time to get to it. However, almost a year later, I have finally read this, and I have to say that it provides a very good literary preview of Brazil. After all, I asked for recommendations for books that would provide me a narrative that was set in Brazil. As I haven't been to Brazil at all, reading about it is ...more
Carlo Non farlo
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite authors. This book breathes and is alive. pure magic.
Elena Sala
Nov 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latin-america
A terrible book, with the most disturbing rape scenes, quietly justified by the narrator. I don't understand the glowing reviews.
Ciaran Monaghan
This is more a series of short episodes rather than one long connected story where we follow a gang of abandoned boys in their life of crime and then, to end, as they mature and go off into their separate adult lives. They are portrayed heroically - almost with a swashbuckling Robin Hood vibe - using their brains and courage to get one over on the rich and powerful of the city. They are not good characters however - stealing to survive but also using violence and rape against girls in their ...more
A brilliant and moving book; I consider myself very lucky to discover this gem. It is about a Robin-Hood-like gang of orphaned and oppressed street children - ages 8-15 - who live in the streets of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, at the beginning of the 20th century, who manage to survive by stealing from the rich and privileged, and evading the brutal police. They go through lots of adventures, selflessly help the poor people, fight rival gangs, find and lose love, and dream about a better future. ...more
My father gave me to read this book back in 2004 when I was only 12 years old. I can't remember exactly what is happening in the book, but I can remember for sure that after having finished this, I was in a really emotional mood. It's really interesting to read a story about little children without families in Brazil and how they live and survive together.

(I have read the greek edition)
Marcio Saito
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was my first adult book I read (not sure when, but I was an early teenager), had a great impact on me.
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books ever, and probably the only school read I thoroughly enjoyed. So, so good.
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read at least 2 times, it's beautiful!!
Jan 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captain of the Sands is a pleasure of a novel, a great piece of social storytelling in the vein of Charles Dickens. Jorge Amado's book is compared to Lord of the Flies but that seems a lazy comparison; it feels much more like a Brazilian Oliver Twist in the tone of the writer but especially in the way the writer approaches social commentary and character depiction. It doesn't feel like allegory but like realism with a touch of magic and romance. It could also be compared to Robin Hood, a ...more
Stanislav Stanchev
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read most of this book during a three-week trip across Brazil this summer. We did not go to Bahia, which in retrospect feels like a missed opportunity. Because I was so captured by Amado’s narrative and descriptions of the town and its waterfront that it would in fact have been great to see how much of the Bahia of the “Captains of the Sands” is still visible today.
Amado’s Captains of the Sands delivers so much of what I look for in works of litera-ture. It has interesting characters presented
Andy Schneider
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-reading
This felt like a Bolshevik Huck Finn set in Brazil, and it was a fun read. The characters - abandoned children in the state of Bahia - were vividly created and each seemingly representative of a different part of their home state (the author's home state, too). At the heart of each of the characters was the tension between being no older than 15 or 16 and having had to already grow into men/women in order to survive. Amado is particularly devastating in describing their need for a mother's love ...more
Diane B
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amazon describes this as 'Brazil's answer to Lord of the Flies'. It isn't. I suspect whoever wrote the spiel didn't actually read the book. The Captains of the Sands are a gang of 100 or so homeless 'abandoned boys' trying to survive in the Brazilian city of Bahia. The book is more a series of vignettes illustrating the lives of some of the boys than a single narrative. They steal, rape and fight, casually and without remorse, yet it is a mark of the talent of Amado that he manages to present ...more
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Jorge Amado de Faria was a Brazilian writer of the Modernist school. He was the best-known of modern Brazilian writers, his extensive work having been translated into some 30 languages and popularized in film, notably Dona Flor and her Two Husbands, (in Portuguese, Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos) in 1978. His work dealt largely with the poor urban black and mulatto communities of Bahia.

“Vestidos de farrapos, sujos, semiesfomeados, agressivos, soltando palavrões e fumando pontas de cigarro, eram, em verdade, os donos da cidade, os que a conheciam totalmente, os que totalmente a amavam, os seus poetas.” 19 likes
“Porque a revolução é uma pátria e uma família.” 15 likes
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