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Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's dramatic life story has captured the imagination of millions, and his progressive politics have brought hope and excitement to Brazil—and the world. This compelling work is the first major English-language biography of the metalworker who became president of Latin America's largest and most powerful country. In a clearly written, vividly detailed narrative, Richard Bourne describes Lula's childhood hardships in an impoverished family, his days as a revered trade unionist, and the strike movement that brought down Brazil's military dictatorship. The book chronicles Lula's campaigns for the presidency, his first term in office beginning in 2002, a major corruption scandal, and his reelection in 2006. Throughout, Lula of Brazil connects this charismatic leader's life to larger issues, such as the difficulty of maintaining a progressive policy in an era of globalization. Brazil's contemporary history, parallels with other developing countries and other world leaders, the conservatism of Brazilian society, and other themes provide a rich backdrop for assessing the struggles, achievements, and failures of this major figure on both the Brazilian and the world stage.
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. A Tough Start in Life
2. Strike Leader
3. The PT, the Workers' Party
4. Persistent Candidate for the Presidency
5. Overview of the First Term
6. Domestic Policy
7. International and Economic Policy
8. Corruption and Scandal
9. The Elections of 2006
10. Lula So Far: An Interim Assessment
Richard Bourne is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at London University. He is author of several books including Assault on the Amazon, Getúlio Vargas of Brazil: Sphinx of the Pampas, and Political Leaders of Latin America.
“As the election of Barack Obama as America's president illustrates, besides competence it's helpful to have a compelling backstory. Richard Bourne's new book describes another such rags to riches saga in profiling the life of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva -- known to South America and, increasingly, to the world as Lula.”—History Wire
"A much-needed full-length portrait of the latest South American political phenomenon. Timely reading for anyone seeking to understand Brazil's newest experiment in democracy."—Thomas E. Skidmore, author of Politics in Brazil, 1930-1964: An Experiment in Democracy
"President Lula is perhaps the most elusive figure to have reached the top of Brazilian politics, and Richard Bourne's fine study of the man and his background is a well-researched and illuminating report. This is a trenchant, warts-and-all account of Lula's career, charting his rise from leftist, trade union activism to moderate statesmanship of a familiar Brazilian pattern. In spite of damaging incidents of political corruption, analyzed here in critical detail, Bourne explains convincingly how Lula's unusual popular touch, coupled with his astute manipulation of the existing political system, enabled him to outshine his rivals and win two election victories."—Richard Gott, author of Cuba: A New History
and Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution
"Lula is the most important leader of the new, democratic Latin American left, in stark contrast with old-style caudillos who pretend to be something new. This biography traces Lula's long road to power back to his poor origins in the backlands of Northeastern Brazil to the periphery of São Paulo, South America's industrial powerhouse, where he became the main union leader in the fight against the military dictatorship. Then he created the PT (Workers' Party) and changed the history of the Latin American left. It is an essential reading for anyone interested in Latin America's new left and the emergence of Brazil as a regional power, and maybe in the future a world power." –Nelson Franco Jobim, journalist and lecturer