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Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Reinventing Democracy in Brazil

Ted G. Goertzel
ISBN: 978-1-55587-830-6
ISBN: 978-1-55587-831-3
1999/220 pages/LC: 98-46653

"Goertzel's painstaking archival work serves to place the president in his intellectual context and does a great favor, particularly to students and younger scholars, coming to Cardoso's writings for the first time."—Fiona Macaulay, Journal of Latin American Studies

"This very significant contribution illuminates events and issues in Brazil since the 1960s in well-organized and direct prose. Goertzel’s engaging account of Cardoso’s intellectual and political trajectory provides an important baseline from which to explore both recent Brazilian history and one of the most exciting leaders in twentieth century Latin America." —Mauricio Font


Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s personal trajectory is unquestionably intertwined with the main intellectual and political debates in Brazil (and Latin America) in the second half of the twentieth century.

Cardoso began his career struggling to apply Marxist ideas to political realities, and he continues to acknowledge the Marxist element that persists in his thinking. Nevertheless, since his election to Brazil’s presidency in 1994, he has been a vigorous advocate of free markets and privatization. Ted Goertzel traces Cardoso’s life and intellectual development, describing his childhood in a supportive political family, his university days and years in exile, his involvement in democratic politics in Brazil, and finally his remarkable record as president.

An insightful illustration of one individual’s transition from the academy to politics and policymaking, Goertzel’s astute biography also provides an excellent overview of the issues that have occupied Brazil and the region for decades.


Ted G. Goertzel is professor of sociology and public administration at Rutgers University. His publications include Sociology: Class, Consciousness and Contradictions (with A. Szymanski) and Turncoats and True Believers: The Dynamics of Political Belief and Disillusionment.


  • Born on a Catapult to Power, 1931-1964.
  • Exile, 1964-1968.
  • From Professor to Senator, 1969-1982.
  • Senator of the Republic, 1983-1992.
  • Taming Inflation and Winning the Presidency, 1992-1994.
  • The Intellectual in Power, 1994-1998.
  • Cardoso as an Applied Social Scientist.
  • Bibliography of Books and Articles by Cardoso.