This slender volume represents the views on contemporary Brazil of a French journalist who arrived in the country in 1960. The observations presented are fresh and intriguing. A keen sense of the subtleties of Brazilian politics results in an interesting evaluation of such political figures as Leonel Brizola, Carlos Lacerda, and Juscelino Kubitschek. According to Fausto, Brizola is not to be underestimated in the future of Brazilian affairs. He adds that in the last days of the Goulart regime Brizola reminded him of Trotsky, who confused publicity with polities, but that when the crisis came Trotsky had Lenin to fall back on, while Brizola had only Goulart. Apparently no observer of the Brazilian scene will claim any competence for former President João Goulart. He remains unmourned, unmissed, and nearly universally condemned. The turmoil and confusion of the years 1961-1964 are well described. Trade unions during the period reminded the author of Jimmy Hoffa’s operations in the United States—of course, without the power.
Carlos Lacerda was the man who lost the most as a result of the 1964 revolution, according to the author, who analyzes closely his political style. The former governor of Guanabara never conspired in secret but always publicly. In Faust’s words, though Lacerda shook the apple tree, the apples fell in the neighbor’s yard. Faust also feels that Lacerda today, as an enemy of the military and the revolution, is in a false position for the first time in his entire career.
One sentence in the book does more to clarify the operations of Brazilian politicians than ten books on the subject. Political observers have often wondered why there was no outcry in Brazil by fellow PSD politicians when the political rights of the popular expresident, Juscelino Kubitschek, were taken away. Most PSD politicos shrugged and said: “We sacrificed a steer to the piranhas, and the rest of the herd got across to the other side of the stream” (p. 127).