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Carolina Maria de Jesus, a Brazilian woman with only two years of schooling, was the mother of three illegitimate children, each born of a different father. This story of her life in São Paulo stands as a vivid, incendiary social document. With stark simplicity, Carolina describes her squalid neighborhood, the favela, and tells how she lived hand to mouth. To keep herself and her children barely alive, to stave off their ever-present hunger, Carolina must scavenge for scraps of metal and paper in the gutter to sell. Her story is a witness to the vicious fights, the knifings, and the sordid sex of the favelados—prisoners of poverty, prey of the unscrupulous, and the breeders of revolution. Robert M. Levine devoted his career to Brazilian social history. He chaired the National Committee on Brazilian Studies and the Columbia University Seminar on Brazil and was director of the Center for Latin American Studies, University of Miami. His major books include Vale of Tears and Father of the Poor? Vargas and His Era.
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