The third volume of Hélio Silva’s series on Vargas covers the revolution of 1930 up to the formation of the provisional government. The first part—“A Teia de Aranha”—describes the growth of the conspiracy between January and October, while the second half—“Outubro 1930”—covers the revolution itself. The book claims to be based on an unprecedented use of private archives—the correspondence of Getúlio himself, of Oswaldo Aranha, Antônio Augusto Borges de Medeiros, João Neves, and Lindolfo Collor. There is, in fact, extensive and valuable quotation from the Vargas papers—correspondence, for instance, between Getúlio, Borges, and Neves in March and April, providing new material on the “bancada” of Rio Grande do Sul and its reaction to the elections. Telegrams, too, between Getúlio, Neves, and Aranha, from the 7th to the 11th of October, help to qualify Neves’ description of events in his Memórias.

The other archives, unfortunately, have not been used to the same degree. A four-page appendix of sketchy quotations is all that appear from the Borges de Medeiros papers, while the Aranha archive, a very rich one, is almost completely neglected. No use is made of it, for example, when discussing the military preparations for revolt, especially in the south, even though the archive contains secret lists of men and material made for Aranha during these crucial months. The reports in the archive from General Gil de Almeida to the Minister of War are ignored, reference being made only to General Gil’s Homens e Fatos de uma Revolução. Despite the title of the first half of the book, Aranha’s role seems to be underestimated. At the same time too much attention is given to such dubious accounts as those of Pedro Aurélio de Góes Monteiro and João Alberto. There is, indeed, a persistent failure to distinguish between valuable primary sources and secondary ones which too often are little more than political gossip.

Perhaps the major omission of this study is its failure to examine the financial and economic issues involved. The author makes no use of material from the Ministry of Fazenda in the Aranha archive; yet this would have helped to explain São Paulo’s support for Vargas and what Silva in his last volume misleadingly calls the origins of Queremismo. Vargas’ hesitations, his fear of being another Nilo Peçanha, vanished as São Paulo’s support grew, but there is no discussion of the attitude of the São Paulo coffee interests. Nor is there more than a superficial attempt to analyze the rivalries and tensions within Minas Gerais. These are crucial to any understanding of the 1930 revolution, and they persisted in the Minas crisis of July-August, 1931, the São Paulo question in 1932, and the Valadares succession in 1933. Silva may be concerned with description rather than explanation, but the title of the book—A Revolução Traída—goes beyond mere description. Unfortunately the author has not made clear how the revolution was betrayed. As one sees even from his account, the Liberal Alliance was for the most part neither liberal nor an alliance, and the “tenentes” were heroes only in their own mythology. Silva has not really told us what the revolution was about, let alone how it was betrayed.