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Brazil, the largest and most populous country in Latin America, has long fascinated outsiders, although often for inaccurate reasons. Until recently, foreigners often saw Brazil as a land of coffee and parrots, Carnival and the Amazon, the samba-land of Hollywood’s 1930s Flying Down to Rio. Waldo Frank, a well-meaning writer who traveled through South America in 1942, maintained that Brazil was a nation of “archetypal forest-dwellers,” since 85 percent of Brazil’s people had African blood, and out of the Brazilian forest a “new world culture” was emerging.1