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Book Reviews This is not to say the book does not have its occasional frustrations. Dinius makes clear throughout the work that the CSN is an exceptional case, but some comparison to other industrial sectors in São Paulo and Minas Gerais could have provided an opportunity to further elaborate how the CSN was unique or what qualities it might have shared with other sectors of Brazil’s developing manufacturing sector. He also regularly conflates union leadership with the workers as a whole, but individual workers’ voices are noticeably absent (though this may also be a question of sources). While the book technically covers through 1964, the administration of João Goulart (1961–1964) and the military coup only get minimal attention at the very end of the final chapter. Finally, while Dinius makes quite clear that his interest is in questions of political and economic power, his study also has glimpses into social issues that he could have perhaps expounded upon further. Most notably, while he is very thorough in his analysis of state paternalism, he never really offers even a brief discussion of how gender might have operated in the factory itself in what is clearly a masculine space. While this is not his main focus, the photograph of Vargas talking with a woman worker serving as a sheet counter, “the only occupation for women,” (185) cannot help but leave one wanting to know more about gender and labor in the factory and in the lives of Volta Redonda’s workers more generally. These are minor caveats in what is otherwise a major and very good scholarly work. Overall, Dinius’s considerations of labor and its connections to the state and economic elites in Brazil provides important contributions for anybody interested in labor, developmentalism, or modernization in Latin America generally, even while shining light on an overlooked period and region in modern Brazil more specifically. Colin Snider Department of History University of Texas at Tyler DIGNIFYING ARGENTINA: PERONISM, CITIZENSHIP, AND MASS CONSUMPTION. By Eduardo Elena. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011, p. 344, $27.95. Populism, particularly in Latin America, is defined by its efforts to mobilize and channel the energy and participation of the masses. In his new book, Eduardo Elena explores one of the quintessential populist regimes, Juan Peròn’s Argentina, in its efforts to do just that at the most basic level. Peròn’s movement targeted workers through appeals to their pocketbooks and their desire for dignity, an effort summarized in the phrase vida digna (dignified life). The effort to create the vida digna, like Peronism itself, drew on disparate influences and reflected diverse demands, which ultimately shaped the short-term success and long-term durability of Peronism. 119 The Latin Americanist, September 2012 Elena’s ability to present a balanced picture of the effort to create a better standard of living (a term only just coming into common use at the time Peròn rose to power) is one of the great strengths of this work. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources, including recently released letters that provide insight into the perspective of the “average” Peronist, Elena is able to track the goals and ideas of government officials, scholars, workers, journalists, and political activists. This diversity of perspectives is evident from the first chapter, in which the history of the concept of the “standard de vida” comes to light. Elena uses anecdotes from Argentine and American journalists, government reports on trade, population , and consumption, descriptions of the popular press, cinema, and advertising, analysis from private businesses (both foreign and domestic ), the work of social scientists, reports from unions and political parties, and congressional debates. Furthermore, these accounts come from men and women, the rural interior and the urban centers, and from the political left and right. Elena skillfully juggles all of these viewpoints in order to make the case that Argentina, at the dawn of the Peronist age, had access to the global consumer market, but that the desire for greater, and more equitable, consumption provided both energy and direction to Peronism. The bulk of Elena’s work continues to draw on this wide-ranging discussion in order to add...


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pp. 119-121
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