quinta-feira, 7 de janeiro de 2010

Book Review: Empire Adrift

Author: Patrick Wilcken

Review: It's refreshing, in a way, to read about this period in time from a non-Portuguese or non-Brazilian perspective. And even those are rare. Mr Wilcken is writting from a neutral stand, as he neither has crippling hate for, say, the Royal Family, or blind adoration.

I especially liked the sources, particularly Lord Strangford, the oportunist sleaze-bag that he was. Others though, are the basic. Marrocos' correspondence remains a 'must read', for anything relating the transference of the Court.

That alone is one of the most staggering moments of the Napoleonic Era. The Royal Family, hundreds of courtiers, burocrats, servants, most of the Royal Library, carriages, furniture and anything else that can be thought of was just packed up and moved across the Atlantic.

The odd-balls tht composed the Royal Family must truly have been a sight for the brazilian eye. The insane queen, the Louis XVI-esque Regent Prince, the wicked 'Regent' Princess Carlota of Spain that spent half her time trying to depose her husband and the other half attempting to crown herself as Queen ot the Spanish territories in America.

The kiddies were a doozie as well. The vulgar and rebelious offspring were as weird as their parents, and some of them racked more chaos than their mother, which is a feat in itself.

The life of the court in Rio is narrated with extraordinary detail, (even if sometimes the portuguese translation was less than stellar).

What I really, really liked, though, was that at least, Mr Wilcken gave some air time to Portugal, after the Court's escape. A chapter recounts the horrific situation that resulted of the Invasions, whilst also mentioning the gruesome fates of some French soldiers that ended up captured by the vengeful portuguese peasents and guerilla fighters. Some included crucifications.

It then ends with the long-awaited return to Portugal due to an insurrection in Porto. A brief summary of the long and bloody Civil War that followed ends this wonderful book that I heartly recomend.

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