Antonio Carlos Jobim, the great composer and lyricist, once said that Brazil was not for beginners. Certainly this subcontinent-sized nation is not easy to understand, and few authors have been able to explain its complexity to foreigners. A country of vast social and economic extremes, diverse terrains and climatic zones, and an extraordinary mixture of cultures, races, and ethnicities, it remains among the great unknowns of the Americas, especially in the United States. Eakin draws on 20 years of experience visiting and writing about the history of Brazil to produce an eloquent and informative overview, the best short survey of Brazil since the anthropologist Charles Wagley's 1963 classic, An Introduction to Brazil.
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