Brazil stands tall on the world stage as host for the world cup and olympic and paralympic games, attracting millions of new tourists to a country of dazzling scenery and welcoming people. In today's world, it is remarkable for the lack of serious ethnic, religious or racial conflict. Yet Brazil also faces huge challenges: combining economic growth with measures to reduce the huge social inequality inherited from its slave-owning past, respecting ethnic and cultural diversity, ensuring a popular say in government, meeting energy needs while preserving the environment – especially the Amazon rainforest – and adapting to climate change. Now an economic recession has exposed flaws in the economic model and corruption scandals have come close to paralysing the government. Nationwide protests suggest that, despite the new prosperity and measures to redistribute income, the government has not done enough to satisfy the demands of the poor and emerging middle classes. But for all its problems, Brazil is still the country of sun,sea, sand and sex, the exuberance displayed in carnival. This short book provides an introduction to the country for the student and traveller alike, people who want to know more about the real Brazil than is found in an ordinary guidebook.