This is a remarkable, complex, and unusually illuminating book. It is remarkable because it correlates, and brings clearly into historical perspective, the impact of Portuguese colonization on two continents. Its complexity derives in part from the intricacies of the triangular relationship involving Europe, Africa, and Brazil, and partially because it tends to be interdisciplinary in character. It casts much light on the political and socio-economic forces which are helping to shape and direct Brazil’s foreign policy today.

Although written with an unmistakable nationalistic fervor, this does not detract from the usefulness of the work, for the author exhibits a high order of scholarly research, using a wide range of source materials from Latin America, North America, Europe, and Africa. The African sources are unavoidably limited. Footnote citations are used throughout, but a bibliography is not included. It suffers mainly from tenuous assumptions and repetition.

Sharing the popular belief of many Brazilians that their nation is destined to become a great power, the author urges that his country expand its influence in international affairs. Brazil, he asserts, can no longer remain content to be just a member of the Latin American community; she must assume leadership of areas on the west African margin which, forming a South Atlantic bloc, linked perhaps with Argentina and Uruguay, would enable her to gain autonomy in foreign affairs. Hostile to NATO because it excludes South Atlantic nations, the author considers it unrealistic and a potential threat to the sovereignty of these nations.

While supporting this reorientation of Brazil’s foreign policy, the author emphasizes the need for Brazil’s continuing alignment with the West. Being aware of the perils inherent in the Sino-Soviet type of colonialism, he envisions Brazil, joined with the South Atlantic bloc, as a middle power between East and West. This would be reinforced by the United Nations, which he anticipates will become stronger and more democratic with the addition of other Afro-Asian states.

Brazil’s claim to leadership of the South Atlantic community, according to Sr. Rodrigues, is based upon historic, ethnic, and geographic foundations. Historically, he writes extensively on colonialism, Brazil’s former colonial status, and that of Africa; ethnically, the theme is miscegenation; geographically, Brazil’s primacy in South America and the geographic unity of the South Atlantic area are emphasized. Unquestionably, colonialism is in retreat. The Luso-African civilizing mission, notably in Angola, Moçambique and Portuguese Guinea, has been discredited. However, it is unsafe to assume, as does the author, that the African states would welcome Brazilian hegemony because of the strong African element in Brazilian society, and the success of Brazil’s miscegenation policy.

The author proposes the development of a Brazilian-African trading community, which appears most optimistic, considering Brazil’s relative weakness in the industrial export field, and the limited consumer purchasing power in Africa. An oversimplification of the problem of international trade is his belief that psychological and racial affinity, related to Brazil’s Africanization, would favor the acceptance of Brazil’s exports.

Keenly aware of the competitive nature of many Brazilian farm, forest, and mineral products with those of Africa, he advocates an “Operation Brazil-Africa,” supported by the United Nations, the United States, and other Latin American countries, to provide a more complementary economic growth on the two continents. This is a significant problem, carefully detailed by the author, which merits the close attention of United States foreign aid policy makers. The problem is that economic development projects in Africa, and analogous programs of the Alliance for Progress in Latin America, may prove to be not only competitive, but mutually destructive.