Brazil and the United States

Convergence and Divergence

Title Details

Pages: 228

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 11/15/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2770-9

List Price: $36.95


Pub Date: 11/15/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2769-3

List Price: $120.95

Brazil and the United States

Convergence and Divergence

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Although Brazil and the United States have long regarded each other sympathetically, relations between the two countries have been adversely affected by geographical distance, language barriers, and cultural indifference. In this comprehensive overview, Joseph Smith examines the history of Brazil-U.S. relations from the early nineteenth century to the present day.

With the exception of commerce, notably the coffee trade, there was relatively little contact between the countries during the nineteenth century. A convergence of national interests took place during the first decade of the twentieth century and was exemplified in Brazil’s strategy of “approximating” its foreign policy to that pursued by the United States. In return, Brazil expected economic gains and diplomatic support for its ambition to be the leading power in South America. But U.S. leaders were cautious and self-serving. Brazil was treated as a special ally, according to Smith, but only at times of major crisis such as the two world wars.

As the twentieth century progressed, friction developed over programs of U.S. financial assistance and efforts to deal with the threat of communism. Recently there have been disagreements over Brazil’s determination to take its rightful place as a global economic player and regional leader. Nonetheless history reveals that these two giant nations of the Western Hemisphere share national interests that they realize are best served by maintaining a friendly, cooperative relationship.

Smith has written a lucid overview of Brazilian-American relations that will be useful to scholars, policy makers, and casual readers for years to come.


This pointed, concise volume, the last in the series, admirably upholds the standard of excellence so consistently maintained by the editor, Lester D. Langley. A job well done!

—Mark T. Gilderhus, Texas Christian University

A balanced, well-paced, lucidly written examination of the core issues at stake in the US–Brazilian relationship.

International Affairs

Succinctly covering two hundred years of relations between Brazil and the United States, Smith’s fine volume is the most comprehensive and balanced survey available in English.

—Marshall Eakin, Vanderbilt University

Joseph Smith’s treatment of Brazil—United States relations is the best synthesis of the subject.t Smith’s clear organization and presentation make this volume a required introduction for students and any other interested in the subject.

—Sonny B. Davis, Hispanic American Historical Review

About the Author/Editor

JOSEPH SMITH is a reader in American diplomatic history in the department of history at the University of Exeter. He is the editor of History, the journal of the Historical Association of Great Britain, and the author of seven books, most recently Historical Dictionary of United States-Latin American Relations and The United States and Latin America: A History of American Diplomacy, 1776–2000.