The third of a tetralogy detailing the history of Brazilian patriarchal society, Order and Progress covers approximately the half-century 1870-1920, a period of transition from a colonial to a more modem society. In the first two volumes, The Masters and the Slaves and The Mansions and the Shanties, Gilberto Freyre, Brazil’s most internationally acclaimed historian, discussed the formation of the patriarchal system in Brazil and the initial challenge to it. In this volume, that challenge intensifies as Brazil undergoes some fundamental economic, political, social, and intellectual changes. Freyre regards this study as “a sort of introduction to present-day Brazil and particularly to its social situation.”

Despite some very dramatic events during the half-century under consideration—the fall of Pedro II and the abolition of slavery would be among the most outstanding—Freyre stresses the essential continuity of the period. In a well reasoned passage on pages 89-90, he concludes that the republic differed little from the monarchy which preceded it. He returns to that theme repeatedly: “. . . The new form of government from its inception made every effort to continue the monarchical principle of order and paternalistic authority . . .”; “. . . the Republic at its birth was already infiltrated by the monarchy”; and “The Republic had blended with the monarchy.” Meanwhile, Brazil was gradually changing not because of any single event but rather because of the impact on society of a number of forces, among which the author gives special attention to urbanization, industrialization, immigration, and nationalism. The cumulative effect of those forces was, among other things, to erode the patriarchal base of Brazilian society.

For his information, the author relied heavily on responses to questionnaires submitted to hundreds of Brazilians bom between 1850 and 1900 of both sexes, the three races, and of varying geographical, social, occupational, religious, and intellectual backgrounds. They provide fascinating insights into the major events of that age as well as myriad details of social history. The handling of those answers in the text constitutes the major difference between the Portuguese-language editions and this English translation. The original work (and I have at hand the 1959 edition) is a massive two volumes of 159 pages of introduction and 755 pages of text. Freyre simply reproduced in their entirety, one after another, many of the answers to his questionnaire, giving the book a very unfinished cast. The English translator and editor, Rod W. Horton, has accomplished the monumental task of synthesizing those responses with the result that the English-language edition is briefer (a mere 412 pages of text) and appears to be a much more polished and finished work. In fact, Mr. Horton, professor of English at Temple Buell College, merits enthusiastic congratulations for a job well done as both translator and editor.

Obviously an original work of this breadth will evoke questions regarding interpretation. It would be a weak book if it did not. For one thing, read in the light of current events in Brazil and the recent trends to reevaluate the role of the military, Freyre’s benevolent attitude toward the officers and their political behavior will call forth a chorus of differing opinions. In Freyre’s view, “The Army, in a new political order, thus took over the role of the Crown as a supra-political body above struggles. . ..” He has high praise for Deodoro da Fonseca: “. . . The old soldier of the Paraguayan War lent his sword, not to the service of any ‘ism’, but rather to that of his country.” In the preface written in 1970 especially for this English-language edition, he affirms that contemporary events have not tempted him to revise in any way his earlier evaluation. He lauds the Brazilian War College (Escola Superior de Guerra) for its “highly intellectual objectivity” and states that Brazil has “avoided any inclination toward militarism of the Caudillist type,” a tendency he believes to have been strengthened since 1950.

All persons, whether scholars or the general educated public, interested in the emergence of contemporary Latin America, will welcome this readable and informative English-language edition of Freyre’s Order and Progress. They will find in it new details about and challenging interpretations of Brazil as it began the long, dramatic, and still incomplete process of modernization. Its insights into the social and intellectual history of Latin America’s largest nation will stimulate thought and discussion and certainly indicate directions for future study and research.