The complexities of contemporary Brazil can be difficult to understand at the best of times. The editors at Brasil Wire have put together a primer of books about Brasil to help readers, and this first section is Brazilian writers.
A Concise History of Brazil by Boris Fausto, is an excellent relatively short book covering Brasil’s 500 year history. Fausto is regarded as one of Brasil’s leading historians and political scientists. Fausto has made a number of TV series many are available in YouTube. http://amzn.com/052156526X/?tag=brawir-21
Roots of Brazil by Sergio Buarque de Holanda is regarded by many as the definitive history of Brasil up until the 1930s. Holanda is also the father of Brazilian musician Chico Buarque. This was made into a TV series and can be found on YouTube. http://amzn.com/0268026130/?tag=brawir-21
The Brazilian People: The Formation and Meaning of Brazil by Darcy Ribeiro. Ribeiro’s seminal book focuses on the history of immigration in Brasil and how this shapes possibly the most racially diverse country on earth. This was also made into a TV series and is available on DVD with English subtitles. Book http://amzn.com/0813017777/?tag=brawir-21 DVD http://amzn.com/B000EWRA5C/?tag=brawir-21
The Masters and the Slaves. A Study of the Development of Brazilian Civilisation by Gilberto Freyre is an anthropological classic focusing on the relationship between Portuguese colonisers and their African slaves. The root of the three books listed above. Note: English translations of this book are most often quite old and come and go on Amazon. http://amzn.com/B004SI8778/?tag=brawir-21
The second list is a selection of foreign authors that have delved deeper than most and each in their own way “got” Brasil.
The Capital of Hope: Brasilia and Its People by Alex Shoumatoff is a memoir of the author’s time in Brasil during the construction of the country’s new capital in the late 1950s. http://amzn.com/0679733264/?tag=brawir-21
Brutality Garden: Tropicalia and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture by Christopher Dunn looks into the explosion of the Tropicalia counter culture movement in Brasil during the early years of the military dictatorship following the 1964 coup d’état. http://amzn.com/0807849766/?tag=brawir-21
A Death in Brazil: A Book of Omissions by Peter Robb is an unusual book;part history of the rise and fall of Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello, part memoir, part food journalism Robb’s tale is anything but boring. http://amzn.com/0312424876/?tag=brawir-21
Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life by Alex Bellos. Former Rio correspondent for British newspaper The Guardian, Bellos’ book follows the history of Brazilian football from the mythical day Charles Milller arrived in Brazil from England in 1894 with two footballs under his arms to the present day. Bellos updated the book in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup. http://amzn.com/1620402440/?tag=brawir-21