Book review of 'Amazonian Roots: Indigenous Mobility and Colonial Communities in Northern Brazil' by Roller, Heather

Berardi, Andrea (2016). Book review of 'Amazonian Roots: Indigenous Mobility and Colonial Communities in Northern Brazil' by Roller, Heather. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 35(2) pp. 250–252.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/blar.12444

Abstract

It is so refreshing to read a book on the history of the indigenous peoples of the Brazilian Amazon that is devoid of academic jargon, grand theories or promotes special interests. heather roller has done a sterling job of engaging with original archival material written by the people of the time, and constructing an account of the period that deconstructs a series of established stereotypes. It should be noted, however, that the only slightly misleading element of the book is its title, in that the book's content exclusively focuses on the "Indian Directorate" period of 1757-1798, characterised by a shift in Amazonian territorial control from religious missions to the colonial state. But this should not detract from the value of the book. Much has been written about the period preceding the Directorate, dominated by religious missions, and the period following the directorate, associated with Brazilian independence and the lead up to one of the most extensive and bloody rebellions experienced in the history of Brazil, the Cabanagem (1835-1840). this book provides the "missing link" between these two periods and achieves this by going beyond an engagement with recently published research and PhD theses. Rolling's extensive use of direct quotations from original correspondences among decision-makers of the time provides a unique and original insight into the period.

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