Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul by Michael Reid

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Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa’s moral crusade, nor as explosively booming as India and China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world’s largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape. This book argues that rather than failing the test, Latin America’s efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world’s most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy. In many countries, including Brazil, Chile and Mexico, democratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge from Hugo Chavez’s oil-fueled populism, and much is at stake. Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world’s most majestic natural environments. Drawing on Michael Reid’s many years of reporting from inside Latin America’s cities, presidential palaces, and shantytowns, the book provides a vivid, immediate, and informed account of a dynamic continent and its struggle to compete in a globalized world.

Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul

Brazilian Adventure: A Quest into the Heart of the Amazon by Peter Fleming

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In the summer of 1925 Colonel Fawcett – soldier, spy and legendary explorer – embarked on a journey into the dark and uncharted heart of Brazil in search of the lost ‘City of Z’. He was never seen again. Rumours abounded – that Fawcett had been killed by Indians or wild animals or that he had lost his memory and become chief of a cannibal tribe – and many became obsessed with discovering what had become of him. In 1932, when ‘The Times’ advertised for ‘guns’ to join an expedition to find Fawcett, the lure was too great for a young Peter Fleming and he immediately signed up, intending to send dazzling dispatches from the jungle. The expedition set out from Sao Paulo and, following tributaries of the Amazon, headed to Fawcett’s last-known position. What followed was, in Fleming’s words, ‘a venture for which Rider Haggard might have written the plot and Conrad designed the scenery’. As the expedition forged its way deeper into the Amazon, disagreements fractured the group and the entire adventure ended in a chaotic race to be the first to report back home. Though the fate of Colonel Fawcett remains a mystery, Peter Fleming’s wild escapade in the heart of Brazil has become one of the 20th century’s best-loved travel classics.

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Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil by Caetano Veloso

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“Caetano Veloso is one of the greatest songwriters of the century: a master melodist, a lyricist who merges surreal imagery with a sense of history” – “The New York Times.” Often described inadequately as the John Lennon or Bob Dylan of Brazil, Caetano Veloso is unquestionably one of the most influential and beloved of Brazilian artists and has developed a worldwide following. Now, in his long awaited memoir, he tells the heroic story of how, in the late sixties, he and a group of friends from the Northeastern state of Bahia created tropicalismo, the movement that shook Brazilian culture and civic order and pushed a nation then on the margins of world politics and economics into the pop avant-garde. “Tropical Truth” recounts the story of a country, its most subversive generation, and the odyssey of a brilliant constellation of artists. By turns erudite and playful, dreamlike and confessional, “Tropical Truth” is a revelation of Brazil’s most famous artist, one of the greatest popular composers of the past century.

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Rio De Janeiro by Ruy Castro

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Occupying what is arguably the most breathtakingly beautiful site in the world, the people of Rio – the Cariocas – tell their stories: of cannibals charming European intellectuals; of elegant slaves and their shabby masters; of how a casual chat between two people drinking coffee on Avenida Rio Branco could affect world coffee markets; of an awesome beach life; of faveals, drugs, police, carnival, football and music. With his own Carioca good humour and spellbinding storytelling gifts, Ruy Castro brings the reader thrillingly close to the flames.

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Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon by John Hemming

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This enthralling book brilliantly describes the passionate struggles that have taken place in order to utilize, protect and understand the wonder that is the Amazon. Hemmings riveting account recalls the adventures and misadventures down the centuries of the explorers, missionaries, indigenous Indians, naturalists, rubber barons, scientists, anthropologists, archaeologists, political extremists, prospectors and many more, who have been in thrall to the Amazon, the largest river in the world, with the greatest expanse of tropical rain forest and most luxuriant biological diversity on earth.

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Ninety-two Days: A Journey in Guiana and Brazil by Evelyn Waugh

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Evelyn Waugh’s chronicle of a South American journey in which he describes the isolated cattle country of Guinea, sparsely populated by a bizarre collection of visionaries, rogues and ranchers and records his nightmarish experiences travelling on foot, by horse and by boat.

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The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer’s Deadly Quest To Uncover The Secrets Of The Amazon by David Grann

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Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, the inspiration behind Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World, was among the last of a legendary breed of British explorers. For years he explored the Amazon and came to believe that its jungle concealed a large, complex civilization, like El Dorado. Obsessed with its discovery, he christened it the City of Z. In 1925, Fawcett headed into the wilderness with his son Jack, vowing to make history. They vanished without a trace. For the next eighty years, hordes of explorers plunged into the jungle, trying to find evidence of Fawcett’s party or Z. Some died from disease and starvation; others simply disappeared. In this spellbinding true tale of lethal obsession, David Grann retraces the footsteps of Fawcett and his followers as he unravels one of the greatest mysteries of exploration.
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