A fabled country with a reputation for danger, romance, and intrigue, Brazil has transformed itself in the past decade. It has achieved energy independence and, with the discovery of the largest oil field in the last century, will become a major exporter of crude oil to the US. With its successful bid for the 2016 Olympics, it is becoming clear that Brazil, at last, is poised to take its place on the world stage. But Brazil continues to be a country fraught with contradictions, where drug-controlled favelas sit side by side the world’s highest standard of living, where plastic surgery is commonplace. Myths about Brazil’s sex culture abound, yet three quarters of the population is devout Roman Catholic. Custodians of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil answers to the rest of the world for preserving the planet’s most precious resource. And though the current president, Lula da Silva, is a former Marxist, he has built a free market powerhouse that is now the world’s tenth largest economy, and growing fast. As The New York Times bureau chief in Rio, Rohter has interviewed almost every important political, business, cultural and religious leader in Brazil. In the tradition of Alan Riding’s classic Distant Neighbors, the bestselling look at Mexico, The Brazil Boom will be the authoritative account of the culture and politics of a country that endlessly fascinates Americans.