- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 3444 KB
- Print Length: 804 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Silver Spring Books (5 Dec. 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001E5YHCC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #352,643 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Brazil Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Brazil and Errol Uys fit the bill perfectly. The country is a fascinating amalgam of colonisers, native Indians and slaves and Uys has a compelling narrative style with down-to-earth dialogue, a first-rate selection of events to illustrate, leading to many a sub-climax, and a wealth of representative individuals to portray. You will be spellbound by the detail of the life and customs of the Tupí Indians, you will shake your head with disbelief at the Boy's Own adventures of the bandeirantes and you will be carried away by the treachery of the first failed movements for independence, mirroring those in the United States. The section on the devastating Paraguayan War is my favourite in a continuous stream of highlights, with its cinematic sweep from bloody battlefields and wounded soldiers to corrupt dictators and their beautiful mistresses.
Just as a postscript: this book inspired me to learn Portuguese, travel to Brazil and study its history; I can not personally praise it more than that.
Beyond its great entertainment value, Brazil is also a great resource for those studying the country's history. I learned a lot by reading this book; it increased my knowledge and understanding of the Paraguay war, the pre-Portuguese indigenous practices as well as the life of Antonho Conselheiro, and the war of Canudos. Uys' book has also made the names of many streets of Rio de Janeiro - and throughout Brazil - come alive to me. These small examples and many others have made it clear that Brazil is one of the best, if not the best, historical novel about the country written by a non-Brazilian. To it's great advantage the book has a refreshing neutrality and an objectivity which is sometimes difficult to find with Brazilian historians.
In addition to my praise and awe I will put forward the following remarks: History is a slippery subject and the vastness of Brazil and the complexity of its past may cause academic objections regarding the choices of the Uys' focus. Other historians would - and have - focused on other events and regions to describe Brazil's past, however one must recognize that any author undertaking such an enormous task would attract similar comments. In my case, the privileging of historical events and of big names over a more "sociological" and a more the "man-in-the street" perspective caused some reflection. Another point that stuck out was that most characters in the book either belong to the powerful and wealthy elite or belong to the very poor and oppressed layers of the Brazilian society - a necessary expedient for this kind of narrative, but also a decision that may have caused a certain "flatness" in some personalities. These choices may also lead to the misunderstanding of the dynamics of some sectors of the country's population although by no means do they diminish the book's brilliance.
Brazilian history is widely unknown throughout the English-speaking world. Perhaps because of this, as a Bandeirante, or an explorer/settler, conquering the unexplored vastness of the country's fascinating past, Uys has produced a fascinating, cinematographic and ground breaking piece of work. The fact that he is not Brazilian and that he wrote this book in English has allowed for a lightness and for a creativity that one normally does not find in similar books written in Portuguese by Brazilian authors. Uys' historical novel is undoubtedly a trustful and enjoyable portal for anyone - beginner or advanced - seeking to understand Brazil and to know its past. Brazil is also a great read for those who simply want to enjoy a great book and I can see it becoming a top rated TV series. I hope it does. Anyhow, this is a definite five star book!
I guess being a woman I was not so interested in the war part, which in my opinion dragged on for far too long. The book is big enough as it is and hundreds of pages of war against Paraguay was a little too much for me.
But the rest was fantastic, mixing real elements to fictional characters is the best way to tell History.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Basically, it appears as if the author read Michener and decided to copy the ideas and plot line without adding soul or the kind of depth that Michener could. Each chapter was the same story repeated: only the names were changed to protect the banality of the story.
I do not recommend this book.
The stories of the fictional families of the Cavalcantes and the da Silvas are set against a historical timeline stretching from before Brasil's discovery in the 1500's to the modern-day period of the construction of the country's capital, Brasilia. Along the way, you will encounter tales of the native Tupiniquim and the outsiders, the Dutch, French, English and Portuguese. There is excellent story continuity throughout and family trees are provided in the Appendix - you will come to know these people in a very personal way!
The author has done his research well and it shows in the quality of his writing. For whoever has curiosity or an interest about Brasil, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book! And for anyone wanting to visit the country, for personal enjoyment, business or whatever, reading this book before traveling there should be mandatory; you will get so much more out of your trip than you could ever receive from a guidebook!
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