Laurence Hallewell, who is the Latin American bibliographer at Ohio State University, has produced a fascinating and clearly a unique history of Brazilian publishing. The monograph is adapted from his doctoral thesis, written in 1973-74 at the University of Essex. Additional research was carried out in Brazil in the late 1970s, where he taught librarianship in João Pessoa. The author’s point of entry to Brazil is refreshingly British. His style is relaxed, and his willingness to roam widely within the boundaries of his subject gives his book a correspondingly broad scope. For example, many of Hallewell’s tables offer comparative data, contrasting the size of Brazilian cities, for example, with other cities in the Americas and Western Europe. The table on the decline of French book imports from 1910 to 1981 says more than many articles on the changing nature of cutural trends in Latin America.

Hallewell, then, provides an intellectual history of Brazilian letters that thoroughly integrates the larger themes of regionalism, nationalism, and political change, all within the framework of the history of Brazilian publishing. Most of the twenty chapters are organized around the biography of a leading publisher or print media entrepreneur (Antânio Isidoro da Fonseca, Silva Serva, Paul Martins, J. M. C. de Frias, Paulo Brito, B. L. Garnier, Laemmert, Hippoltye Garnier, Francisco Alves, Monteiro Lobato, José de Barros Martins, José Olympio, Enio Silveiro). By no stretch of the imagination, however, is this biography/hagiography or institutional history in the traditional fashion. Hallewell’s subjects are depicted squarely in terms of their contribution to intellectual life, and, broadly, as conduits of cultural and transcultural trends. Useful detail abounds, from information on pricing and book sales to elements of popular culture to information on imports and exports of printed matter. There are excellent photographs, and the bibliography is very complete. The book deals with problems of censorship, foreign influence, Brazilian relations with the Portuguese world, dissent, textbook norms, education, culture and its economic basis, religion, historiography, technology, multinational business, and linguistic reform.

This interesting and thorough book is a welcome contribution, and should be translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil. It neatly integrates cultural trends and Brazilian development; it is a model that might well be applied to other national cultural histories.