Brazil, the People

Description

32 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
$9.95
ISBN 0-7787-9707-4
DDC j981

Year

2003

Contributor

Photos by Marc Crabtree
Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish studies at Queen’s University.

Review

Brazil, the former Portuguese colony, is the largest country in South
America. It is known for its giant Amazon River, massive rainforests,
huge cities (Sгo Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), coffee plantations, rich
mines, and large manufacturing centres. It is also known for the variety
of unique plants and animals in the Amazon basin, which are quickly
vanishing as modernization and industrialization encroach on the region.
Brazilians are descendants of African slaves, Portuguese settlers, and
Native peoples. The success of mining and plantation crops was achieved
on the backs of Native and African slaves. Today’s cities are a
mixture of rich people and the desperately poor, who live in hillside
slums (favelas). The only escape for the disadvantaged is through fun,
football, and festivals (e.g., carnivals, TV soap operas). The culture
of the country is rooted in the gods and spirits of the African and
Native peoples, fused with the rituals of the Catholic Church. Brazilian
culture (pop and high) is reflected in its national dance, music, folk
arts, fine arts, architecture, and literature, which are second to none
in Latin America. To capture all of this in three slim volumes is no
mean achievement. Malika Hollander is to be commended for the
interesting content of these books.

Although Peru is significantly smaller and less influential than
Brazil, Peru, the Land and Peru, the People and Culture capture the
spirit of the diverse land from costa to selva to sierra, the natural
wonder of lakes and canyons, the volatile climate, earthquakes, and
volcanoes. Peruvians today descend from the region’s indigenous
peoples (especially the Incas) and invading Spanish—and the resulting
Mestizos. The country, with its modern cities (Lima) and growing
industries, has been gradually joining the developing world. Its
fascinating wildlife (llamas, jaguars, anacondas, etc.) and ancient
cities (e.g., Machu Picchu) are the basis of a growing ecotourism
industry. Peruvian culture offers a host of religious festivals, sports,
music, folk arts, and dancing. Although still subject to political
violence and terrorism, Peruvians are a colourful and interesting
people.

Each volume is easy to read, nicely illustrated with colourful drawings
and striking photographs, and includes a glossary and an index. All of
the volumes are highly recommended.

Citation

Hollander, Malika., “Brazil, the People,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/29905.