This is a humble attempt to acknowledge the many humans and trees who
over the years have played a role in bringing this project into the form of a
book. Inspirations and insights came from many sources, and I borrowed
from the work, comments, enthusiasm, and examples of many, only a
fraction of whom I will be able to mention here. The cooperation, lend-
ing, and appropriation that goes into the making of a historical case study
can never be given its due in laudatory footnotes or acknowledgments.
But when only one author’s name goes on the cover, he or she must
struggle to make jalopy shibboleths appear as vibrant and new as the
phrase ‘‘previously-owned cars.’’ So be it. While I avow full title to any of
this book’s shortcomings, I share credit for whatever may be commend-
able herein with my numerous named and unnamed collaborators (why
does that last word make it sound like we have committed a crime?).
This project first began to take shape during a pre-dissertation trip to
Rio de Janeiro. Like many graduate students, I was unable to find substan-
tial documentation to pursue the original project outlined in my proposal,
and I began to feel like a fraud. I explained my frustration to Eliseu de
Araújo Lima, the knowledgeable and implacable paladin of the Arquivo
Nacional’s consulting section. Eliseu graciously suggested that I might
be interested in a new collection of military police inquiries that the ar-
chive sta√ was organizing. He introduced me to Antônio Carlos Gonçal-
ves Valério, who headed the section organizing judicial papers. Antônio
kindly allowed me to peruse the uncataloged collection, and I was in-
stantly drawn to the rich detail and picaresque quality of these documents.
I returned to the United States determined to develop a project on the
social history of common Brazilian soldiers. I am deeply indebted to these
dedicated archivists and many others who took the time to share docu-
ments, ideas, and co√ee.
Professor Robert M. Levine of the University of Miami, Coral Gables,
provided encouragement, advice, and insights that sharpened my analyti-