The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir-Fernando Henrique Cardoso

  • Title: The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir
  • Author: Fernando Henrique Cardoso
  • Released: 2007-03-27
  • Language:
  • Pages: 320
  • ISBN: 158648429X
  • ISBN13: 978-1586484293
  • ASIN: 158648429X


From Publishers Weekly Cardoso, who served as Brazil's Finance Minister in the early 1990's and then president from 1995 to 2002, shows in his first-rate memoir how far his country has traveled in the 125 years since Emperor Dom Pedro. Cardoso appears, by virtue of being a third-generation politician raised in an upper-middle-class household, to have been minted for the presidency. Yet, as he describes with the panache of a seasoned history writer, privilege did not obscure his vision of Brazil's injustice and poverty: he was born into a time of upheaval and worker revolts and lived through his first coup at age six, a foreshadowing of the tumult he would witness throughout his adult life. This philosopher-turned-politician gives a thorough history of 20th century Brazil, a country blessed with resources but racked by instability and yearning for democratic reform. Not long after his father's death, Cardoso made Brazil's future his mission, as a senator, as finance minister and finally as president where he took on pharmaceutical companies over AIDS treatment. And while Cardoso's family history would seem to have predisposed him to the role of public man, his story is that of a maverick whose curious mind and love for his country helped bring Brazil into the 21st Century as a formidable economic and political power.
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From Cardoso, predecessor to Brazil's colorful current president, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, or "Lula," offers an engaging and thoughtful look at the turbulent history of government in Brazil. As president for two consecutive terms, from January 1995 to December 2002, and with a long family history of generals and war ministers, Cardoso has a deep and intimate perspective on that nation's politics. He tried to avoid the family business, opting instead to become a sociology professor, teaching for a while in Paris and as an exile in Chile. But his family heritage and love for a nation of great resources and huge shortcomings, including economic and racial divisions, eventually lured him into office. Before recalling his presidency, Cardoso devotes much of the book to the complexities of Brazilian history and politics, including the appeal of communism to Brazilians looking for solutions to social inequities and the nervousness that has provoked in the U.S. Readers interested in the political history of this fascinating nation, of huge importance on the American continent, will enjoy this book. Vanessa Bush
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