*Image and book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.
This book looks at the essential role Brazil played in World War II by providing the rubber that was needed for the war effort.
The first half of this book was riveting. I had no clue that Brazil was so essential to the war effort. I had no idea how many lives were lost getting that rubber to the United States. Heck, I didn't even know German U-Boats were active in the South Atlantic. It was very educational, and heart-wrenching, relaying the stories of the Rubber Soldiers and the conditions under which they worked.
The second half of the book however, was almost nothing but the very bureaucracy filled letters that passed between the Brazilian and US governments. These letters are not good for general readers. They were written with politicians and, maybe, reporters in mind. I had to skim through several pages of technical and political lingo just to get to the authors' summaries that were significantly more effective at exposition than the letters. I get that the letters were needed, but they really dragged down the book for me, a non-historian.
It really upsets me because this book has a very important and under-represented story to tell and point to make. And the first half of the book does that so very well! The problem comes when the authors rely on verbatim copies of the letters and telegraphs. My eyes glazed over quickly and I had to force myself to continue reading. I really feel like the authors were only including the letters to pad the page count. The letters may have been better off being included as an appendix with the authors writing up summaries in the main book. They are talented authors but these letters just kill the book for me.
If you're a history buff or have a very strong interest in the subject, you'll probably enjoy the entire book. If you're a casual reader, like me, whose curiosity was piqued, you'll probably only like the first half of the book. 2.5 hoots.