Sarah Sarzynski's innovative study examines rural mobilization and repression in northeastern Brazil in the years surrounding the 1964 military coup, as well as the subsequent memorialization of political struggle. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the region's rural poor organized for greater access to land and political inclusion, challenging centuries of slavery, latifundia, political violence, and corruption. Brazil's postwar oligarchic pact continued to suppress popular empowerment through legal restrictions on suffrage and rural unionization, which insulated the political dealmaking critical to advances in import-substitution industrialization. Yet by the early 1960s, political tensions had begun to chip away at the pillars of power in the northeastern region. Rising land values and land speculation prompted sharecropper and tenant evictions, rending the traditional patron-client bonds of rural society. Growing exodus to the cities magnified the cries for social change, the constituencies for populist politicians,...

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