Synopses & Reviews
In The Tribute of Blood
Peter M. Beattie analyzes the transformation of army recruitment and service in Brazil between 1864 and 1945, using this history of common soldiers to examine nation building and the social history of Latin Americaandrsquo;s largest nation. Tracing the armyandrsquo;s reliance on coercive recruitment to fill its lower ranks, Beattie shows how enlisted service became associated with criminality, perversion, and dishonor, as nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Brazilian officials rounded up the andldquo;dishonorableandrdquo; poorandmdash;including petty criminals, vagrants, and andldquo;sodomitesandrdquo;andmdash;and forced them to serve as soldiers.
and#9;Beattie looks through sociological, anthropological, and historical lenses to analyze archival sources such as court-martial cases, parliamentary debates, published reports, and the memoirs and correspondence of soldiers and officers. Combining these materials with a colorful array of less traditional sourcesandmdash;such as song lyrics, slang, grammatical evidence, and tattoo analysisandmdash;he reveals how the need to reform military recruitment with a conscription lottery became increasingly apparent in the wake of the Paraguayan War of 1865andndash;1870 and again during World War I. Because this crucial reform required more than changing the armyandrsquo;s institutional roles and the conditions of service, The Tribute of Blood is ultimately the story of how entrenched conceptions of manhood, honor, race, citizenship, and nation were transformed throughout Brazil.
and#9;Those interested in social, military, and South American history, state building and national identity, and the sociology of the poor will be enriched by this pathbreaking study.
andldquo;A marvelous and broadly conceived study of great sweep, impressive documentation, and original insight. Beattie shows us how an imaginative study of the military can greatly illuminate issues of masculinity, nationalism, race, social control, and bondage. Its attention to comparative history, its focus on explaining change, and the care and grace of its writing make it something of a model of what institutional histories can achieve.andrdquo;andmdash;James C. Scott, Yale University
andldquo;This is the most original work on Brazilian social history by a U.S. scholar in the last fifteen years. Events and issues become newly understandable in Peter M. Beattieandrsquo;s presentation of military recruitment as a direct measure of state-building in Brazil.andrdquo;andmdash;Dain Borges, University of California, San Diego
Argues that the reform of military recruitment in Brazil had a profound impact, second only to the abolition of slavery, on institutions of social discipline and the lives of the poor.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -374) and index.
About the Author
Peter M. Beattie is Assistant Professor of History at Michigan State University.