This publication raises to six the number of volumes in the História geral da civilizãção brasileira series. Initiated in 1960, the series opened (in Tomo I) with two volumes on the colonial period, Do descobrimento à expansão territorial and Administração, economia, sociedade; it then moved (in Tomo II) into the period of empire with three successive volumes respectively entitled O processo de emancipação, Dispersão e unidade (see review in HAHR, 47:2 [May 1967], 299-300), and Reações e transações. The book under review is the fourth volume on the monarchy, and it, like its predecessors, is the joint effort of various authors. Late in 1972 a fifth and final volume on the monarchy (Da monarquía à república) will appear, but it will be the work of one man, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, the series editor. Thereafter, Boris Fausto will assume the editorship and will direct (in Tomo III) works on the republican period.

Sixteen authors—eleven of them from the University of São Paulo-collaborated on the present volume, Declínio e queda do império. The result is a four-part work treating respectively economics and finance, international relations, the armed forces, and the spiritual life of the empire. Only in a general way do the various chapter essays bear on the title theme as they range widely in quality, methodology, and scope. The book is more opportunity for aspiring historians to present new ideas and for established figures to revise or summarize previous interpretations than a rigidly controlled exegesis or a balanced college text. As such, a familiarity with Brazilian history and historiography is desirable. One should not be surprised to find some chapters with footnotes and bibliographies and some without, some constituting detailed factual expositions and some short summary interpretations, some focused on the “decline and fall of the monarchy” and some not.

While displaying all of these disparities, part one on economic affairs is perhaps the strongest of the four sections. Here Myriam Ellis and José R. de Araujo Filho discuss imperial mining, Nícia Vilela Luz industrialization attempts, Odilon Nogueira de Matos communication, Guilherme Deveza fiscal policies, and Alice P. Canabrava agriculture. The now familiar themes of dependency at home on coffee monoculture and dependency abroad on manufactured goods, although enunciated neither universally nor dogmatically by the authors, might be said to provide a rough thematic framework. Efforts to revitalize mining and stimulate native industry are overshadowed by agricultural demands, and it is ironically observed that railway links facilitating cheap foreign imports sometimes depress rather than activate local enterprise. The fall of the monarchy in 1889 is not generally seen as a major turning point economically, the republican era being a time when old imperial patterns are intensified or revised.

The economic focus carries over into section two on international relations, where, in a rare contribution by a North American, Richard Graham concisely reviews the British role in Brazil; the author broaches the ideological question as to whether the British presence was a positive or negative factor in Brazilian development but concludes that a “rigid judgement” is practically impossible (p. 152). The section continues with chapters on Brazil’s relations with France, the United States, Portugal, and Germany. The collection represents a potpouri of historical method and approach. Professor Graham’s interpretive review of British relations is followed by a quantitative plunge into Franco-Brazilian commerce. The piece on the United States exceeds the combined length of its two predecessors and is a faltering and heavily documented attempt at a political history which seeks significance in the differing nineteenth-century regimes in monarchial Brazil and the republican United States. The concluding chapters on Portuguese and German relations offer in the first instance a balanced survey of political, commercial, immigrant, and cultural exchanges and in the second a review of commercial ties.

Similar diversities mark the volume’s two concluding sections. In section three on the armed forces another North American contributor, John Schulz, finds in the changing social structure and secularization of the army both a reflection of broader social movements and causes for the 1889 golpe. A similar but less successful approach is taken with the national guard, but the chapter on the navy is little more than a patriotic paean of past heroics while another traces the military campaigns in the Paraguayan War. The book’s final section provides two chapters on religious matters and one on education.

This is a comprehensive work in scope and intent. It capsulizes major works in the field and presents the guts of some recent dissertations. In the final volume on the monarchy Sérgio Buarque de Holanda will hopefully tie together the different strands of analysis developed here.