From Revolution to Power in Brazil
How Radical Leftists Embraced Capitalism and Struggled with Leadership
Kellogg Institute Series on Democracy and Development
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
462 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 49 illustrations
- ISBN: 9780268105860
- Published: July 2021
From Revolution to Power in Brazil: How Radical Leftists Embraced Capitalism and Struggled with Leadership examines terrorism from a new angle. Kenneth Serbin portrays a generation of Brazilian resistance fighters and militants struggling to rebuild their lives after suffering torture and military defeat by the harsh dictatorship that took control with the support of the United States in 1964, exiting in 1985.
Based on two decades of research and more than three hundred hours of interviews with former members of the revolutionary organization National Liberating Action, Serbin’s is the first book to bring the story of Brazil’s long night of dictatorship into the present. It explores Brazil’s status as an emerging global capitalist giant and its unique contributions and challenges in the social arena.
The book concludes with the rise of ex-militants to positions of power in a capitalist democracy—and how they confronted both old and new challenges posed by Brazilian society. Ultimately, Serbin explores the profound human questions of how to oppose dictatorship, revive politics in the wake of brutal repression, nurture democracy as a value, and command a capitalist system. This book will be of keen interest to business people, journalists, policy analysts, and readers with a general interest in Latin America and international affairs.
“This is a thorough, balanced, and beautifully written account of the progression of the Brazilian left over the past fifty years. This book presents a compelling account, unique in its virtues. The scholarship is outstanding. Kenneth Serbin calls on a vast compendium of secondary sources, previously untapped primary sources, and his own extensive oral histories of key figures in this process.” —Bryan McCann, Georgetown University
“From Revolution to Power in Brazil provides a lavishly detailed chronicle of the guerrillas and revolutionaries who rose to the pinnacle of Brazil’s political system only to fall from grace and find their quest for power questioned by robust institutions. As Brazil grapples once again with threats to its democratic advances, this book is essential reading for understanding how political power functions in Latin America’s largest country.” —Simon Romero, New York Times
"Kenneth Serbin is one of the most eminent historians of Brazil working today. His previous books have illuminated key aspects of this country’s recent past, especially during the dark dictatorship period. This volume adds to this accumulated knowledge, by unveiling how some relevant actors in the Brazilian political arena evolved from the military to the democratic periods. Always using a fluid and gracious style and following the strictest academic precision, Serbin helps us to better understand our society and ourselves." —Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva, Insper Institute of Education and Research
“Using collective biography, [Serbin] tells the story of nine activists who moved into position in the political system. . . . This is a valuable study providing insight into the unique political system of present-day Brazil.” —Choice
"From Revolution to Power in Brazil is important for understanding the life trajectories of former militants who survived military rule in Brazil, and it offers new pathways for thinking about activism and dissent under dictatorship and transition politics." —Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
“This tribute to the legacy of a generation of courageous activists, in a country that sees itself once again defending its fragile democracy against a powerful authoritarian resurgence, would be enough to make From Revolution to Power in Brazil mandatory reading, regardless of disagreements that are bound to arise around the study of such sensitive and timely topics.” —American Historical Review
“Serbin . . . offers readers what is likely to become a new classic in the area. From Revolution to Power in Brazil is indeed a work that innovates in scope, focus, and goals." —Latin American Politics and Society