Juliana Barbassa in conversation with Michael Deibert - Dancing with the Devil in the City of God - Gables
A self-described “hybrid creature,” Juliana Barbassa, award-winning journalist and former Rio de Janeiro correspondent for the Associated Press, has lived in Iraq, Malta, Libya, Spain, France, and the United States—but her heart has always belonged to her native city of Rio. Her debut book, DANCING WITH THE DEVIL IN THE CITY OF GOD: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink, is a testament of her love, a painstakingly researched and visceral portrait of Rio’s struggles for change after being catapulted into the international spotlight by the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Armed with her razor-sharp prose and keen reporter’s instinct, Juliana digs deep into the story to help us understand what’s really happening on the streets of Rio today (the good, the bad, and the maddening). She tells a fast-paced, intriguing tale of the Brazilian government’s preparations for the World Cup and Olympics, its efforts to strengthen the economy and to combat organized crime…and the often devastating consequences of these actions. But Juliana never loses sight of the human face of Rio. She introduces us to the families fighting to retain their homes in the Rio’s infamous favelas, the Cariocas selling their flesh in the city’s red-light district, and the ecstatic elation (and ultimate devastation) that grips the city’s citizens during the 2014 World Cup.
The result is a rich account of a city composed of extremes, where middle-class citizens have iPhones but lack basics like safe sanitation and quality education, where the lush landscape is marred by mountains of trash and by sewage, and where the Brazilian reputation for live-and-let-live hedonism is tempered by racism, sexism, and one of the world’s highest murder rates. Juliana writes about “this city of extremes”—one she loves deeply, despite its flaws—with the access a native but the perspective of an outsider, making her the perfect guide for the reader on this fascinating journey.
Readers who are interested in international affairs, urban development, travel, and the social and culture dynamic will be drawn to this book’s rich details, accessible writing, and thoughtful analysis. ButDANCING WITH THE DEVIL IN THE CITY OF GOD’s appeal extends to anyone who is curious about this most seductive of cities—one that will be front-and-center on the world stage for years to come.
About the Author:
Juliana Barbassa holds bachelor’s degrees in Spanish Literature and journalism from UT Austin and master’s degrees in Latin American studies and journalism from UC Berkeley. As a journalist she earned a Katie Journalism Award, an Emerging Journalist award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a John L. Dougherty Award from the APME, the Associated Press Managing Editors. She reported for the Associated Press for ten years and served as its Rio de Janeiro correspondent from 2010 through 2013. An expert in Brazilian current affairs, Juliana has also made various appearances on programs such as the BBC, NPR, Public Radio International, and HuffPostLive to discuss such events as the deadly floods, mudslides, the violence in Rio’s favelas, and Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Michael Deibert is the author of In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America's Drug War in Mexico, The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair and Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti. He can be followed at twitter.com/michaelcdeibert. He lives in Florida.
With Live Performances by:Rose Max and Ramatis
Brazilian Jazz: Bossa Nova, Samba with a beautiful voice of Rose Max and a genuine Brazilian acoustic guitar of Ramatis! It's a perfect mix of the soulful Brazilian Music style! Rose Max and Ramatis always take the audience on a trip to the beaches, mountains,streets and bars of Rio de Janeiro without ever leaving the room.
In the tradition of Detroit: An American Autopsy and Maximum City comes a deeply reported and beautifully written biography of the seductive and chaotic city of Rio de Janeiro from prizewinning journalist and Brazilian native Juliana Barbassa.