Brazil: What Everyone Needs to Know

Brazil: What Everyone Needs to Know is a Q&A field guide for navigating the history of the world’s seventh-largest economy.

In a series of leading questions and answers that are grouped chronologically according to the periods of government that the country has passed through, author Riordan Roett (The New Brazil; China’s Expansion into the Western Hemisphere: Implications for Latin America and the United States) explores Brazil’s history with an economist’s lens. Succinct explanations of Brazil’s rapid transitions of power are given, citing shifting revenue sources as the motivating factor for change. The second half of the book picks up questions of racism, poverty, education, crime, gender inequality, foreign policy decisions, and global competitiveness.

Roett is quick to address leadership faults in the stagnated Brazilian government (“The political class appears stuck in time.”) and points to examples of countries leading the way (Mexico, Chile, and China) while a scrambling Brazil struggles keep up. The result is like a disappointed teacher scolding a foolish student: “To fail to address the agenda in the next government...could have serious social and political tensions with unforeseen consequences.”

In this no-nonsense and practical read, Roett weaves an effective primer for readers looking to dig a bit deeper about the problems facing South America’s largest country and host of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Thank you to Oxford University Press and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this title!