Goes is one of Brazil’s most astute political commentators. As the chief of the Brasilia office of the Jornal do Brasil, one of the country’s two most important newspapers, he closely accompanied the inner workings of the administration of President Ernesto Geisel (1974—1979).

The book opens with a long chapter about presidential style, the sources and kinds of information on which decisions were made, and the evolution of the institutional structures that reflected the personality of the president. Two case studies follow: one dealing with the selection of incumbent president João Baptista Figueireido as the government’s fifth military president since 1964 and the other with the abrupt dismissal in 1977 of War Minister Sylvio Frota for opposing Geisel’s political plans. The final chapters examine the ideological motivations and concerns of the bureaucratic elites and the military who govern Brazil (chapter 4) and with foreign policy questions, particularly U.S.-Brazilian relations, in the concluding chapter.

Goes’ analysis is sharp and incisive. His concern with conceptual issues nicely contrasts with his case studies. All in all, this is a well written and timely volume about the five years of Geisel’s rule.