Brazil’s Dance with the Devil, the World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy by Dave Zirin (’91). As Dave lifts the curtain to reveal life in the poor favela population of Brazil and how it is affected by the two mammoth sporting events in his title, the US reader is struck by how differently the two largest countries in the Western hemisphere have evolved. Brazil has known oligarchy from its beginning; we have been lucky enough to have basked in the dream of democracy. For me, this book is a companion piece to Daring Democracy.
Along with the self-serving behavior of FIFA and of the International Olympic Committee in advance of the World Cup and the Olympics, we learn of the complicity of Brazil’s own leaders. Informative history of both Brazil and of soccer combines with a powerful description of the dangers for the majority when wealth lies in the hands of a few. It is a cautionary tale for us; Dave shows that we must beware of the transference of capital from the public sector to the private sector lest we lose our safety net for the poor and disabled to say nothing of a robust public school system and democratic access to quality health care.