An important new translation of a fundamental work of Brazilian literature
Written by a former army lieutenant, civil engineer, and journalist, Backlands is Euclides da Cunha's vivid and poignant portrayal of Brazil's infamous War of Canudos. The deadliest civil war in Brazilian history, the conflict during the 1890s was between the government and the village of Canudos in the northeastern state of Bahia, which had been settled by 30,000 followers of the religious zealot Antonio Conselheiro. Far from just an objective retelling, da Cunha's story shows both the significance of this event and the complexities of Brazilian society.
Published here in a new translation by Elizabeth Lowe, and featuring an introduction by one of the foremost scholars of Latin America, this is sure to remain one of the best chronicles of war ever penned.
Da Cunha's War of Canudos gets a commendable new translation by Lowe in a carefully planned and perfectly executed volume. The Brazilian author establishes his knowledge of his country's civil war with an in-depth examination of the geography and climate in the years before and during the infamous bloodshed of the 1890s. He extensively examines the coastal regions, in particular the northeastern state of Bahia where the war took place, and details the history of the Brazilian people, discussing the impact that the varying cultures and racially mixed marriages had on the economy and the settlements occurring then. Most notably, he reflects on the mixing of races between the disappearing natives, the Bantu Negro, and the Portuguese settlers who were prominent at this time. Most chilling is a chronicle of the seemingly insignificant conflict over purchased but undelivered wood that caused a local religious zealot to lash out at the government and start the bloodiest civil war in Brazilian history. Abounding with eloquent passages and vivid images, Da Cunha's considerable work maintains its grim beauty in Lowe's graceful translation.
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