After a coup in 1964 that ousted Brazil’s leftist President João Goulart from power, a brutal military dictatorship took the reins of the state. As a result, elements of the persecuted Brazilian Communist Party split from a more peaceful, orthodox line and declared their intent to wage an insurgent war against the government, plunging the country into a conflagration of violence marked by cycles of urban bombings, political assassinations, institutional torture, kidnappings, and summary executions. Concrete Inferno relays this period in Brazil in a lucid narrative history, exploring what drove the military coup of 1964, the subsequent rise of the Armed Left, and the successes and failures of the insurgency and how it concluded. Stretching from the rumblings of discontent during João Goulart’s ascendancy in 1961 to the strange conclusion of the dictatorship in 1985, the book draws on new primary sources and a wealth of English- and Portuguese-language resources to provide a complete and evenhanded portrait of the conflict.
C. WILLIAM VARDY is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program and a scholar of terrorism and irregular conflict, focusing primarily on the Portuguese-speaking world. He is a former resident of Brazil and worked previously with the US Department of State in São Paulo and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute in Washington, DC.
Concrete Inferno is a gripping narration of the violence that besieged Brazil for nearly two decades. Vardy’s use of vivid firsthand accounts throughout the book portray a detailed depiction of the insurgent conflict.
Concrete Inferno is a fascinating study of the leftist terrorism campaign in Brazil and the military regime’s successful, but brutal, efforts to quash it. Drawing on an impressive range of original sources, C. William Vardy sheds light on this dark and often-neglected chapter in Brazil’s history and helps us understand why Brazilian terrorists lost popular support and ultimately failed.