Journalist and spectacularly successful governor, Carlos Lacerda was Brazil's foremost orator in the 20th century and its most controversial politician. He might have become president in the 1960s had not the military taken over.
In the first volume, John F. W. Dulles paints a portrait of a rebellious youth, who had the willfulness of his prominent father and who crusaded for Communism before becoming its most outspoken foe. Recalling Lacerda's rallying cry, "Brazil must be shaken up," Dulles traces the career of the journalist whose unsparing attacks on the men in power led authorities to imprison him and employ thugs who pummeled him physically. Lacerda's spirited oratory helped him become Brazil's most popular congressman, but it scared the rulers of Brazil, who prohibited the broadcast of his speeches after he returned from exile in 1956. Their effort to deprive him of his mandate stirred the entire nation and culminated in one of the most dramatic sessions ever held in the Chamber of Deputies.
In the second and final volume, Dulles explores the political and private life of Lacerda from 1960, when he became governor of Brazil's Guanabara state, until his death in 1977. Dulles focuses particularly on the years 1960 to 1968, in which Lacerda played a central role in some of the most drastic political changes that Brazil has experienced in this century.
Lacerda's story ranges from the headlines constantly generated by his political attacks and journalistic sensationalism to private moments of personal tragedy. In telling his story, Dulles draws on hundreds of interviews, as well as extensive research in press archives, Lacerda's public papers, and the private collections of Lacerda's family and associates. This material paints a compelling portrait of an honest administrator who alienated top figures in politics, the press, and the military.
Chosen by Carlos Lacerda to be his biographer, John W. F. Dulles (1913-2008) was University Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
From reviews of Volume I:
"Brazilian Crusader is no doubt the best biography yet produced on Lacerda and the second volume . . . is certainly worth waiting for." —Luso-Brazilian Review