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4.2 out of 5 stars102
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like Michael Palin and I like his voice. I have loved watching him travel around the world over the years giving us his very special personal insight into the places he visits. I was expecting him to delight me and enlighten and entertain me with his wit and wisdom. Did he do this Yes, but it is a solid rather than a resounding YES!

There are 8 CDs and a running time of over 10hrs as Micheal reads "his own bestselling account of his epic journey through Brazil". It was a long journey but I wouldn't call it epic!

I don't know why I am disappointed because the audio ticks all the boxes - well read, well written, well research well this and well that but overwhelming my response is "Well?"
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have enjoyed Michael Palin's travels from his first `Around the World in 80 Days' series and have missed sharing in his adventures in the lull over the last five years. Brazil is a whole new area of vastly differing sights and sounds, races, tribes, cultures and landscapes waiting to be explored.

As always, Michael delivers in his relaxed easy style, reading with warmth and humour, thoroughly engaging his listeners, and the tales he relates never failed to hold my interest throughout the entire 10 hours. It's pure escapism to listen to on a long, dull motorway journey especially in pouring rain but for armchair travel I feel it lacks visual content to capture the colourful tribes and characters he meets. Admittedly, it's an audiobook so by definition the content is audio but I did rather expect to find some visual content even just a small photographic booklet insert to accompany the CDs showing at least some of the highlights of his trip. Instead there's just a map of Brazil which was a little disappointing.

At times I also felt it was disjointed by being split into 4 separate visits to Brazil each covering a different area. It lacked the central theme and continuity of circumnavigating the globe in 80 days, traversing the globe from Pole to Pole, crossing the Sahara....

As an audiobook I would definitely recommend it to Palin fans to listen to while driving but to fully capture the atmosphere of his trip then either the DVD or photo-packed book will give the armchair reader/viewer a greater and more fulfilling experience.
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VINE VOICEon 31 October 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To give a brief initial over view of the first segment and a flavour of things to come, Mr Palin begins his journey of cultural and geographical discovery of Brazil by journeying to the north east, in essence this is where modern Brazil was born. The Portuguese explorers first landed and came upon the native Brazilians and where hundreds of thousands of African slaves were brought to work on sugar and tobacco plantations. The north-east is where the initial germination area and mix of races was and cultures that culminated in what we now think of as Brazil i.e. in terms of music, food, dance, and religion all bear the imprint of this `mix'.

There are over 8 hours of audio descriptive material here, all narrated and delivered in a humorous and very charismatic way by Michael Palin. Unfortunately, there is a problem here, and that is one that cannot be corrected by audio description alone, as there is a clear need, for us to see the sights through the full visual delights that are Brazil. Here in, is the `Achilles heel' which lets down, an otherwise good production.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an engaging and lyrical account of Michael Palin's most recent travels for the BBC. It's well-produced, well-written and well-read. Palin is at times poignant, funny, reflective, astonished and, sweetly, perplexed. The CDs are a feast for the ears and the imagination, and are accompanied by a nicely detailed brochure.

This audiobook set is lovely - but for me, the journey doesn't quite match the excitement of Palin's earlier, time-sensitive, explorations (indeed, what could ever equal the astonishing rebuff of the Reform Club failing to allow him admission on his '80 Days' return?).

It is astonishing to me that Amazon insist on condensing print/audio media for review purposes, as buyers of different editions are looking for differing things. In my opinion, this work is suffering somewhat unfairly from Vine reviews where the reviewers were not expecting the format they received... whereas people buying the CD version/the hardback version will have chosen their format specifically according to preference.
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on 22 November 2012
Michael Palin's latest book brought back memories of my previous encounters with Brazil. When I was doing GCSE Geography, there was barely a corner of the curriculum that didn't have an example from Brazil that could be quoted while answering an exam question. And there was a suspicion that writing down `Brazil' in response to any question that stumped you might gain half a point.

And a couple of summer's ago I read two thirds of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin, a fascinating - if over-detailed - history of Ford Motor Company's failed experiment in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest to develop a rubber-plantation to feed into their tyres, complete with US-style buildings and customs.

Michael Palin visited Brazil to film a recently-broadcast TV series. His eponymous titled book documents his travels across the vast country, twice the area of India. Palin contrasts the forests, the mines, the beaches and the favelas. He notes the role of religion and witchcraft, carnivals, the influence of Portugal, as well as spotting many examples of minimal clothing - both on the beach and in forest tribes. And he even finds a tribe getting lessons in videography.

Basil Pao's photographs really bring Michael Palin's commentary to life, capturing the colour and vibrancy of the country. Sadly Pao's name doesn't make it to the book's front (or back) cover. Also missing from the book is an index.

Palin describes a country where poverty and prosperity mix on the beach, and twenty years of military dictatorship are less visible than the 1950s government building futuristic architecture of Oscar Niemeyer.

What I wasn't taught in GCSE Geography was that within 20 years, Brazil would become a superpower, leapfrogging the UK in 2012 to become the world's 5th largest economy.

Included in his travelogue, Palin surveyed the remains of Fordlândia by boat. The pictures really bring Grandin's more wordy tome to life.

Throughout the book, the reader is gently introduced to often flamboyant individuals who guided Palin and his crew through different regions and cities: Gabby the "Beyoncé of the Amazon"; 70 year old cowboy Julio; Marjorie , a transsexual who describes herself as "a woman with a penis"; a blogger called Raul; Marlisa, a special forces publicity officer; and many others.

Before finishing in São Paulo, Palin stops over in Rio de Janeiro and discovers rising rents as foreign buyers snap up property ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. It's all in sharp contrast with the new city of Brasília which took over as the country's capital in 1960 and was constructed in the unpartisan interior, away from the more dominant south east.

I missed the TV series that preceded the book. But I found the book a fascinating excursion through a country which was undersold and underexplored in those school geography lessons.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 November 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The concept of a travelogue on audio is slightly strange. Running to over ten hours on eight CDs, the narrative is significantly longer than the commentary that accompanies the four hour long TV series and, I assume, is the text of what the cover blurb says is his "own bestselling account" book - which while this will probably be true, seems to be making some assumptions as it is launched at the same time as the book. There's no doubt that the experience suffers from a lack of visual images - either in terms of TV pictures or even book photographs. Palin though is a warm narrator and his love of travel and new experiences comes over, even if his questioning remains a little on the light side. Brazil is a fascinating country and something of this comes over, but Palin generally glosses over some of its recent dark political past.

Compared with other Palin travel adventures and certainly the Round the World series, the structure lacks the urgency of a will he or won't he make it. He doesn't have a journey or route to follow - he just jumps around the various areas of this vast country. This means it lacks a narrative thread to it.

It makes for a pleasant listen but on balance, I'd recommend the book rather than the audio version. No matter how good Palin is at recording his experiences, it's hard to get a real feel for the place through mere description. Of course this could be rectified by the inclusion of a small insert book of images, but it isn't and it would probably add to the cost. In order of preference, I'd go book, TV, audio I'm afraid.
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on 13 January 2013
I have recently finished this book by Michael Palin, and found it to be pretty good.

He is, of course, an extremely well-travelled guy, and has written several other travel books, most of which I have read. I personally thought it was worth while doing this one, because although it is about just one country, it is simply a vast country (bigger than Australia) and so full of contrasts, from tribes who live in the dense rainforest, to westernised city-dwellers in the vast city of Sao Paolo.

Michael Palin certainly knows how to get under the skin of a country, and really delivers in fine style, being entertaining and very witty as always. He always gets to meet such interesting people! I mean, I am well-travelled too, but when I go to a country, there I am, looking at the main sights, feeling lonely, and thinking, what now? Michael Palin is talking to business leaders, farmers, ex-pats, seeing the sights, and really living the country like the locals. I envy him and his ability to communicate and get on with people.

I spotted a couple of small errors in the book, missed by the proofreaders, hence 4 stars not 5. However, this book is certainly well worth reading if you are interested in travel, Brazil itself, or just a good entertaining read.

My only other point is, Mr Palin should work out what his carbon footprint is, after all his travels, and think about planting some trees to make up for it, if he has not done so already.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2014
Impulse-bought this at the airport as background reading during a two week trip to southern Brazil. Palin's writing is not as amusing or diverting as you'd hope, relying more on facts than anecdotes or insight and he gallops around the country at lightning pace affording most towns 2-3 pages. As such, you finish the book feeling semi informed but not hugely satisfied. Some topics are covered in more depth (the various sections on favelas are excellent) and it's definitely worth a read, just don't expect Bryson-quality material.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having been off work for the last five weeks following a spell in hospital, I was getting a little bored; daytime TV is fine but programmes about selling antiques at auction lose their appeal when you seem to be watching them for about four hours each day. Because I this I was delighted to receive this eight CD set. Ten hours listening to Michael Palin talking about his latest trip, to Brazil, sounded like a nice change from watching David Dickinson or Tim Wonnacott trying to flog some old tat for a profit. And so it proved; as he has shown with his earlier travelogues Michael Palin is the perfect companion for any journey. It has been said before but Palin is a very nice man, and he proved to be a good bloke to while away a couple of afternoons with. His good nature and gentle humour coupled with an extremely easy on the ear voice made his journey around Brazil come to life and he was able to paint pictures in my mind which made the ten hours pass very quickly.

Whilst I enjoyed the CD's though I have to admit that having watched the first episode of Brazil on BBC TV last night I would say that overall I preferred the TV version, the expression "a picture painting a thousand words" being particularly relevant. Although Palin makes an excellent attempt to help us to visualise the sights of Brazil I just thought that the actual pictures of Brazil were that much more vivid.
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on 5 November 2012
I have found the book BRAZIL by Michael Palin a very good accompaniment to the BBC tv series of the same name. It fleshes out the story of the country and the people that Michael encounters on his travels throughtout Brazil, and even in it's own right it is an interesting and well written book in my opinion, but there again I may be a little bias, as I have been a fan of Michael's travel adventures right from the very start, when "Around the world in 80 days" got me hooked on Michael's style of writing.
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