Industrial Forests and Mechanical Marvels is a marvelous book about Brazil's coming to terms with its modernization while holding fast to its unmodern self. The book asks how modernization was understood by those who promoted it and those whose lives were upended by it. Modernization unfolded against the backdrop of two major features of nineteenth-century Brazil at odds with one another: the persistent institution of slavery and the hierarchical, racist social order that it had created, and the desire to modernize both economy and society à la the North Atlantic experience. How to reconcile the two? Brazilian modernizers believed that technology had the capacity to improve economic productivity and to elevate the knowledge, character, and quality of the Brazilian working class without challenging the established social order. This book reveals an agenda of cautious modernization at the macro level that was shaped...

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