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Dancing with the Devil in the City of God:…
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Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink

by Juliana Barbassa

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We will hear much about the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in the coming year. That's where the 2016 Summer Olympics will happen. Brazil's second largest city is pulling out all the stops to impress the visitors. Journalist Juliana Barbassa examines the city, giving us some insight into its troubled past. Her impressive book is called Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink.

Brazil has had a tumultuous history. Barbassa notes that there were no less than six currencies between 1986 and 1984. Today it has one of the world's emerging economies. The author recounts some of the events that over the years have led to the present. The country was long beset with criminal activity from an organization known as the Red Command, which was born in the prisons and moved into the cocaine trade.

The author chose to return to her native country, having lived in Europe and San Francisco. Her initial choice of residence upon moving back turned out to be environmentally unfriendly. She was beset by health problems and forced to change neighborhoods. Finding a good place to live turned out not to be an easy chore in Rio.

There is hope for the future. The discovery of offshore oil was huge news for the country's economy. Things really began to look up when Rio landed soccer's World Cup in 2014. And now the city is overjoyed about next year's Summer Olympics. To make way for that event, the city's marginalized are being displaced from their homes. This sort of thing is not new in a country where urban renewal projects are a well-known part of history. Unfortunately common laborers are being forced to move to areas great distances from the convenient work-centers. But life will continue. ( )
  JamesBanzer | Sep 28, 2015 |
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Rio de Janeiro is a city of extremes: from Carnaval's hedonistic delights, to the poverty of the favelas, to the softly seductive samba beat. But there's a dark side to this beautiful city: for years, Rio was ravaged by inflation, drug wars, and crooked leaders, and the legacy of decades of corruption can be seen in the very real struggles the city faces today. Now, Rio is ready to remake itself, this time into a global, modern capital ready for its turn on the world stage with the Olympics in 2016. But at what price? Armed with sharp prose and a reporter's instinct, Rio-born journalist Juliana Barbassa brings a firsthand glimpse of what's really happening in Rio (the good, the bad, and the maddening). She paints a fascinating picture of this city "on the brink," explaining how Rio will succeed (or fail) based on the choices its leaders and citizens make today. But through it all, she never loses sight of the human face of Rio.--Adapted from book jacket.… (more)

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