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Professor of History Joel Wolfe Publishes ‘Fast Paced and Engaging’ Book on Brazil

Joel Wolfe, professor and graduate program director in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Department of History, recently published his third book, “Brazil,” with Polity Books for the Polity History Series.

A photo of Joel Wolfe with the cover of his book "Brazil" superimposed in the corner

“Brazil” is Wolfe’s third publication focused on Brazil’s history. Called “fast-paced and engaging” by Boston College’s Heather Cox Richardson, the book covers the period of 1808 to the present day, paying particularly close attention to the South American country's struggle for control of its vast national territory and to establish a vibrant democracy among the intense inequality, racial discrimination and regional rivalries.

“The goal of the Polity History Series is to have senior scholars produce books for a broad audience. The books aim to present a country’s history for other scholars, policy makers, and others in an accessible way,” Wolfe says. “The book pays particularly close attention to the last two decades of political turmoil. I waited to submit the book until after last November’s presidential election was settled.”

While working with page proofs for the soon-to-be published text, Wolfe was asked by the director of Polity Books to include an afterword about the January 2023 pro-Bolsonaro riots in Brasília.

“It was a unique experience to have written something that happened only months before a book came out,” Wolfe says.

Wolfe is the author of numerous articles and books on Brazilian society and politics. “Brazil” follows the publication of “Autos and Progress: The Brazilian Search for Modernity” (Oxford University Press, 2010) and “Working Women, Working Men: São Paulo and the Rise of Brazil’s Industrial Working Class, 1900-1955” (Duke University Press, 1993), the latter of which was named a Choice Outstanding Book.

Since publication, “Brazil” has had multiple bids for a version in Greek, and it is currently available for purchase at multiple places including Barnes & Noble, Target and politybooks.com.