I've lived in Brazil, and read many books about various aspects of Brazil's people, economy, history, government, military and culture. This book contains a lot of information that I hadn't known, and that I find fascinating. So it's well worth reading.
But it's a foreigner's view; Page has visited many times, knows many Brazilians, and is married to a Brazilian. Even so, I found many of his comments and views unrecognizable to me; perhaps one must live in the country and work there, in the local economy, paid in Brazilian currency and working with ordinary Brazilians, to absorb various subtleties of life in Brazil and of interaction among ordinary Brazilians, that Page omits, or may even be unaware of. For example, his account of economic activity in Brazil makes it clear that connections are vital for business success and that many of the most successful firms in Brazil are family firms. But what he doesn't say, surprisingly in view of the fact that he's a professor of law in the US, is that Brazilian commercial law is so different from commercial law in the US that it is very hard, and takes a very long time, to get a commercial dispute settled through the Brazilian legal system. So, as a practical fact, any sensible business owner in Brazil depends on family connections and close friends to straighten out and resolve problems involving contracts.
Page also plays down the size and vitality of Brazil's middle class. This seems to be because of his own political views, but it seriously misrepresents the way Brazil actually functions. A good example of the true Brazil of today is the aircraft company EMBRAER, which I recently saw referred to as "the Boeing of regional jets"; indeed, right now in the US I keep seeing EMBRAER turboprops and EMBRAER regional jets in use all over the US by a lot of airlines. EMBRAER started out as a Brazilian government initiative, but became truly successful after it was privatized. I knew a number of the engineers and technicians who helped to found EMBRAER and make it successful, and they were neither members of the elite nor from impoverished backgrounds. A very few came from rich families and a very few came from impoverished backgrounds, but the large majority were from families of professionals or families that owned small businesses. What they had in common was extremely high intelligence, a good education, and determination to make EMBRAER succeed in the commercial market, which it has. Most of them got their primary, secondary and university education in the public educational system, which is much better, at least in the Southeast, than Page gives it credit for. People I have since encountered, from similar backgrounds, are at the heart of the steady effort in Brazil to master nuclear technology.
US government treatment of Brazil and the government of Brazil has often been shabby, to put it kindly. Everyone I knew in Brazil welcomed Americans, including me, provided we identified with Brazilian views on international relations, rather than with US government views. I don't know how many times, but it was many, while I lived there, that the local CIA station chief visited me so that I could tell him what lay behind some grievance that had Brazilians badmouthing the US government; he lived in an American compound, drove an American automobile, and was regarded with deep suspicion by almost all the ordinary Brazilians he met.
As for the destruction of rainforest and the awful treatment of the few remaining clans of wild native Americans, it is no worse, and in most ways less destructive, than the way in which the European settlers of North America treated indigenous people and despoiled the environment. Many Brazilians, possibly most of them, resent being lectured by people from the US and Europe about how Brazilians should conduct themselves in the Amazon basin, in the Pantanal, in the remaining fragments of the original coastal forest, in the extensive grasslands of Goias and in the part of the Northeast that is subject to frequent drought. Almost all the Brazilians I knew when I lived there were as aware as people in the US and Europe of the ecological and social problems involved in opening up the backlands. But what would you have had them do? Turn 3/4 of Brazil into a wilderness preserve? impossible. I think Brazil has done quite well to preserve its ecology and the culture of its remaining native Americans as well as it has, and, what's more, Brazilians are still learning in these topics, just as we are, and the record is improving steadily.
In summary, Prof. Page's portrayal of Brazil is analogous to what I would expect to find in a book by Jacques Chirac purporting to explain the United States to French readers; there are a lot of good facts here, but a conceptual disconnect.