This book, based on Martha Santos’s 2004 University of Arizona doctoral dissertation, is a welcome contribution to the field of northeastern Brazilian rural history. Santos examines the ways in which the use of violence by men from this region is related to a changing socioeconomic structure rather than being an innate part of their character or culture. She moves away from a recent emphasis on the discourse surrounding the northeast and its people and focuses instead on land registries, postmortem inventories, and criminal records. Anyone who has done research in northeastern Brazilian archives will recognize the challenges she faced, as climate, bugs, and poverty conspire to destroy documents, but Santos makes us feel confident in her conclusions. She also peppers her text with her own fine translations of the colloquial Portuguese of popular poets, which certainly adds flavor and zest to the text....

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