Brazil, 1964-1985


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The Military Regimes of Latin America in the Cold War

Herbert S. Klein and Francisco Vidal Luna

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An insightful study of the political, economic, and social changes Brazil experienced during the twenty-year rule of its Cold War military regime.

Cuba’s revolution in 1959 fueled powerful anti-Communist fears in the United States. As a result, in the years that followed, governments throughout Central and South America were toppled in U.S.-backed military coups, and by 1977 only three democratically elected leaders remained in all of Latin America. This perceptive study, coauthored by a revered historian and a prominent economist, examines how the military rulers of Brazil profoundly altered the nation’s economy, politics, and society during their two decades in power, and it explores the lasting impact of these changes after democracy was restored. Comparing and contrasting the history, programs, methods, and goals of Brazil’s Cold War–era authoritarian government with the military regimes of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay, authors Herbert Klein and Francisco Vidal Luna offer a fascinating, detailed analysis of the Brazilian experience from 1964 to 1985, one of the darkest, most difficult periods in Latin American history.

Herbert S. Klein is Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University and research fellow and Latin American curator at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He lives in Menlo Park, CA. Francisco Vidal Luna is professor of economics at the University of São Paulo.

"Klein and Luna show that Brazil’s 'authoritarian development model' (1964-1985) was unique in southern South America in modernizing the tax system and expanding health and pension systems.  In fact, they argue that the Brazilian welfare state was largely created by the authoritarian Vargas regime (1930-1945) and the antipopulist military dictators from the 1960s to the 1980s." — Joseph Love, Professor Emeritus of History and Latin American & Caribbean Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

"This brief study of Brazil’s military regime, by two of the leading experts on recent Brazilian social and economic history, could not be timelier.  It offers the reader—including those new to the field—a clear and succinct picture of the many ways in which the military and its civilian allies transformed Brazilian society during their 21-year rule, while also indicating what changes were of a more regional or global character.  Though the authors acknowledge the repressive aspects of the regime, and the enduring inequalities it produced, Klein and Luna argue that the period of military rule was an era of unusually profound social changes—a point with which anyone interested in Brazil, past or present, must grapple." 

— Barbara Weinstein, The Color of Modernity: São Paulo and the Making of Race and Nation in Brazil

“The authors’ concise explanations of how key economic policies worked and how social security institutions functioned are most welcome. . . . [They] present valuable material not easily accessible elsewhere. Klein and Luna’s view that the military regime constructed modern Brazil needs to be taken into account.”—Hendrik Kraay, Hispanic American History
ISBN: 9780300223316
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
216 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
11 b/w illus.
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