This volume contains eight articles prepared for the Seventh Luso-Brazilian Colloquium which was planned for 1975 at Florida International University. The meeting was cancelled, but the high scholarly level of the scheduled participants, some of whom were new to the field, is here revealed. Seven essays deal with Brazilian topics (one by N. N. Pearson is concerned with India), and, of these seven, six deal with independent Brazil. The one exception is Catherine Lugar’s study of the tobacco industry in colonial Bahia.
Most of the essays reveal the difficult conditions encountered by working men and women in Brazil, and reasons for those conditions. Two articles on army recruits in the first empire and old republic by Michael McBeth and Frank McCann contain similar findings. In both periods—separated by a century of presumed progress—poor and often illiterate young men were unfairly and often ruthlessly forced into the army, there to confront conditions which could be imposed only upon members of the poorest classes: bad food and housing, low status, and cruel punishment. June Hahner’s study of underprivileged working women in a society dominated by men, though modestly called “a preliminary investigation,” is an admirable introduction to the topic. Gerald Greenfield’s account of the comparatively mundane problem of lighting São Paulo’s streets shows that even in a major city dependency upon foreign interests and markets could cripple a needed public service. Thomas Holloway has probably overestimated the degree of compliance of Paulista planters during the slavery crisis of 1886-1887, but he has produced a thoughtful analysis of the relationship between state-sponsored Italian immigration and the abolition process. In his sensitive essay on the persecution of twentieth-century immigrant workers, Sheldon Maram exposes as well as any of these socially conscious writers the exasperating and destructive conservatism so characteristic of Brazil’s ruling classes. In assembling these exciting articles, the editors have performed a service for students of modern Brazil.