Summary of The New Brazil

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  • Comprehensive
  • Eye Opening
  • Background


If you only associate Brazil with soccer, samba and “The Girl from Ipanema,” adjust your thinking. Brazil inaugurated its first female president, Dilma Rousseff, in 2011, and it will host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. But even more significantly, Brazil has become a global economic powerhouse. Political scientist Riordan Roett explains how it all happened – from Brazil’s status as a neglected Portuguese colony to its 20th-century military dictatorship to its modern role as a commercially influential nation. Published just prior to Rousseff’s election, Roett’s slightly stolid book ends with former President Luiz Inácio (Lula) da Silva’s second term and leaves you wanting to know more, though it reveals in exhaustive detail how this dynamic democracy has come so far so fast. Roett’s tough-going textbook style can be dense, but getAbstract promises you will learn a lot about Brazil, the 21st century’s “crafty superpower.”

About the Author

Riordan Roett is a professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he leads the Western Hemisphere and Latin American Studies programs.



“The New Brazil”

While its path to modernization has not been smooth, Brazil now is an economic and political world leader. It is a rising star on the newly reconfigured, post–Cold War global stage along with its BRIC partners – Russia, India and China. Thanks in part to the sensible fiscal measures Brazil has undertaken since 1994, the South American nation weathered the 2008–2009 financial crisis better than most countries. Like its fellow BRICs, it is a major player in international trade and development. With its energy independence, robust ethanol program, and discovery of large oil and natural gas reserves off its coast, Brazil has become a leading voice in international energy policies. The country also has joined its BRIC cohorts in squaring off against the world’s industrialized nations on such issues as global growth and climate change. How did this “new Brazil” come into being? First, you have to understand the history of the “old Brazil.”

“Colony, Empire and Republic”

Portugal’s 16th-century king Dom João III divided heavily rural Brazil into “large landed estates” known as “hereditary captaincies.” Portuguese court favorites took responsibility...

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