The Brazil Readers discussion

Brazilian History

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian McHugh (imh1977) | 1 comments Hi All,

Well. This seems like the right place to begin...

I'm new to GoodReads but I'm moving from my current home in San Salvador to a job in Sao Paulo in July 2010.

As a History teacher I'm interested in acquainting myself with Brazilian history in the coming months. I'd also like to (if possible) get an overview of Brazilian culture and history.

Any recommendations would be MUCH appreciated.

(It may be prudent to know that, although I am endeavouring to learn, I do not speak Portuguese)

Kind regards,


message 2: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Cheney (glenncheney) | 12 comments Ian:

I wrote a book itled "Journey on the Estrada Real: Encounters in the Mountains of Brazil." It's about a road the Portuguese built in 1697 from Rio inland to Diamantina so they could bring the gold and diamonds out of Minas Gerais. The road goes through the cultural cradle of Brazil. It's still there, a dirt road winding through the mountains, going through cities that were once opulent, now kind of run down. The whole road is 850 miles long. I walked down the upper 200 miles of it for 2 months and wrote about the people, history, culture, food, etc. I think the book would give you a good glimpse of the foundation of Brazilian culture. (It would also teach a bit of essential Portuguese.) You can read excerpts and see some photos at

Have a good time! Brazil's a great place.

Glenn Alan cheney

message 3: by Brent (new)

Brent | 8 comments Mod
Hi Ian,

I added a few books to this group's "bookshelf" under Gen History - they are the general histories I would recommend. I can't think of any History that I would avoid, I think they are mostly solid. I'm using the Fausto one for a study abroad this summer, since it's "concise".

message 4: by Bernard (new)

Bernard Kripkee (kripkee) | 1 comments Farewell Rio

Farewell Rio is a novel set in 1968 during the active resistance to the military government. The protagonist is Catherine (Kate) Lawrence, an American poet and literary editor who goes to Rio de Janeiro following a failed love affair with a Brazilian diplomat in New York. In Rio, she falls in with a group of artists, musicians, hippies and millionaires who camp out in a Copacabana apartment. Eventually, she finds herself reporting street riots, and is surprised to find that she loves being in dangerous situations. Not only does she encounter danger on the streets, but she also falls in love with a man with a mysterious past. Although the main characters and their actions are entirely fictional, the political background is accurately portrayed -- the novel gives a good feel for Rio at that time. The language is vigorous and poetic. Each chapter begins with a fragment of one of Kate's poems.

A major theme is Kate's re-evaluation of herself as a person who is turned on by danger. As she says, in a companion piece (Persisting), “I need to be engaged with life, not sheltered. I’m not going to start writing villanelles about the way the light falls on a stand of trees or a bowl of fruit. And I’m not going write about what I haven’t experienced, or at least observed.” In Rio, she becomes engaged with life in a way that brings her more than she bargained for.

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