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Paulista War Vol.1

The Paulista War Vol.1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2020 Title The Paulista War Vol.1
Author Javier Garcia de Gabiola Publisher Helion
Published 2020 ISBN 9781912866380
Format 80 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $24.95


Javier Garcia de Gabiola guides us through “The Last Civil War in Brazil, 1932” in volume 1 of The Paulista War Vol.1 – 18th in Helion’s terrific “Latin America@War” range.

Available in North America from Casemate, coverage spans 80 pages across six, picture-packed sections. And contents broadly divide into two parts.

The first three chapters recap background details: Brazil’s political setting, Federal and São Paulo “Paulista” forces, and combatants’ aviation assets. Combat commences in Chapter 4 – and two subsequent sections chronicle initial phases of fighting.

The last include, text claims, “probably the first sustained air campaign to support a land offensive in the Americas”, “the first ever nocturnal aerial bombardment in the Western hemisphere”, and “the first ‘strategic’ bombing mission in the entire American continent”.

The author’s superb endnotes admirably enrich all commentary. Don’t skip them.

An abbreviations list, extended captions, action anecdotes, summary tables, and selected bibliography also augment the account.

Rare photos and archival art further season the study. Maps help chart engagements. And seven pages of color aircraft profiles and uniform plates proffer potent project potential.

But that should probably read “Darne 7.5mm” machine guns – not “Dame 7.7mm”. Why “plate” instead of “serial”? That's a pretty misleading subhead on page 32. And “deduce” – not “deduct” – sounds more sensible a page later.

Moreover, “displaced” – not “weighed” – properly describes warship tonnage. Brazilians speak Portuguese – not “Brazilian”. And tactical and theater maps really need, say, São Paulo state insets for better geographic clarity.

Finally, needlessly disputing the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight in December 1903 contributes nothing to this otherwise illuminating effort.

Who’s next? Gustave Whitehead?

Quibbles aside, this English-language chronicle splendidly fills a yawning gap in Latin American conflict studies. And I eagerly await its sequel.


With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!