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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 December 2015
I am a long term resident of Brazil and recently bought the hardback version of this book at a local bookstore. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the photographs are magnificent and I enjoyed Palin's easy to read writing style, with lots of humorous and often perceptive one liners. I would recommend the book to anybody who is looking for a good travel guide to this vast country. I have just ordered the DVD of the accompanying TV series.
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a review of the audio CD version of "Brazil". These are enjoyable stories by Michael Palin in his well-known style of travel writing. The author does the reading of this audio version, and he reads it very well. Michael Palin certainly gives a positive impression of Brazil. However, it was 4 weeks ago that I listened to the 8 CDs, and to my shame I have to admit that I recall very little detail of the trip details. It was nice, it was an enjoyable listen, it was interesting at the time, but it also seems to be quickly forgotten. I listen to a lot of audio books whilst driving, but in this case I do wonder if it might have been better to get the printed book or the related DVD rather than the audio book.
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on 24 January 2015
I notice a lot of the reviews here are for the Audio CD. Like some say the audio cd is most definitely not the right format. Whilst Michael Palin has a very distinct and pleasant delivery, it is the visual imagery that is by far the most important element. Accordingly, it is the hardback book with its hundreds of colour plates which is the format to go for. In many respects this is better, more easily referenced and convenient than the DVD. A great introduction to a huge, interesting country.
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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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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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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Michael Palin's BRAZIL - Audio book (2012) 8 CD

No , not the film created by a fellow (ex) Python , but an audio book version of Palin's travels into the South American subcontinent - also released as a BBC series ,book and DVD.
I have not been a fan of audio books - historically preferring either DVD's or hard copy books with pictures.
I had bought this for a relative who has limited sight and was pleasantly surprised to hear how well Palin evokes the images of his Brazilian odyssey. Many audio books can be made or destroyed by the person chosen as the narrator - to me Palin did a sterling job.
Whilst not always mirroring the DVD, he captures the spirit and colours of the Amazon and its peoples and the rapid development of Brazil as a 21st century economic marvel coming to terms with its resources and its original peoples.
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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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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Everyone knows what to expect from a Michael Palin travelogue - it's a tried and tested formula of engaging with the locals, discovering interesting faces and places and bravely undertaking experiences that the rest of us would baulk at.

The TV series spanned four one hour episodes, but the audiobook lasts a mighty ten hours. It's complete, unabridged and overall, highly engrossing.

With vast experience of world travel under his belt, Michael knows how to describe a location and as an actor, he knows how to bring life to his descriptions.
As an interviewer, he's developed some smart techniques to draw information out of the very different people he interviews, giving us as wide a picture as possible.

As with his New Europe series the huge diversity of the people he met made for wide variety with little chance of repetition. With the eyes of the world turning towards Brazil over the next few years and the Rio Olympics/Paralympics, this is a timely and fascinating insight into a vastly varied nation.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before listening to this set I had already seen the television series that Michael Palin's Brazil audiobook is based on so had a good idea of the subjects he was speaking about. To me it was a pleasing reminder of the interesting trip he made to that fascinating country, and to hear it delivered by the man himself was a bonus. It's quite a comprehensive audiobook set too, and is delivered in over 10 hours across 8 discs so in actual fact it lasts longer than the series it's based on. I'd have liked a more thorough booklet to accompany the set but since the official book of the series is also available then that will always be the best place to see decent photographs if wanted, but as a standalone item I think that this audiobook set is very good. Despite Brazil being so interesting I did find that the trip itself was less entrancing than some of the earlier programmes that Michael made, but that doesn't mean that this set is any less worthy than it really is. Very enjoyable!
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