This is the fourth edition of a book which appeared in English (and earlier in Portuguese) under the title: The Brazilians: Their Character and Aspirations (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). The English-language edition was written before the military coup d’ etat of March 31, 1964, whereas the present volume has been updated by the inclusion of new material through the promulgation of Institutional Act Number 9 of April 25, 1969. The format and organization of both volumes are basically the same, being divided into several major headings: Introduction, Political Psychology and the Brazilians; Part I, National Characteristics; Part II, National Aspirations; Part III, The Permanent and the Transitory: A Summing Up. These segments embrace twenty-eight topics, conclusions, and an extensive bibliography.

Professor Rodrigues, Director of the Brazilian Institute of International Relations and professor of the economic history of Brazil at the University of Guanabara, is a distinguished and prolific scholar. A disciple of João Capistrano de Abreu, he was also influenced by Gilberto Freyre and Oliveira Viana, the well-known Brazilian social historians. Among his many outstanding works only two have been translated into English, the volume noted above, and Brazil and Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965).

This is an extraordinarily well-planned and carefully researched book, which makes significant theoretical and empirical contributions towards an understanding of modern Brazilian civilization. A great merit of the book is the broad-gauged approach of the author. It is not a technical monograph of the academic specialist; rather it is the work of a generalist who brings to his subject a remarkable variety of viewpoints and interpretations. The style is clear and unpretentious; the data on current economic, demographic and regional questions are well-chosen, and an excellent choice of topics present a well balanced picture.

Being frankly concerned about the problems confronting his nation, he seeks to analyze them in the light of Brazil’s past. He provides a wealth of information and interpretations, solidly buttressed behind multi-lingual references. An analytical, critical and interpretive historian, Rodrigues approaches his subject with unusual objectivity and candor, and while never minimizing the vastness of his country’s problems, he nonetheless reveals an understandable pride, and optimism about its future.

As an interpretive historical synthesis the book offers many illuminating appraisals of conditions and forces which have helped to shape Brazilian history. His treatment of nationalism, for example, includes a survey of the long conflict between regionalism and central authority, racial integration, a democratic struggle against the established oligarchy, problems of communication and transportation, industrialization and urbanization, and educational programs. He weighs positive and negative characteristics, draws comparisons with other countries, and surveys Brazil as it is seen by foreigners.

This is indeed a fascinating book, highly recommended for both the specialist and the student of Brazilian affairs in general. Its conclusions alone make the book a valuable addition to our understanding of Brazilian history and institutions.