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by Gregório Bezerra

Over thirty years after the publication of Memories (Memórias, 1979), by Gregório Bezerra, the legendary icon of the resistance against the Brazilian military dictatorship (that took place between 1964 and 1985) is honored with the release of his autobiography, by Boitempo Editorial, enriched with photos, new texts, and composed on a single volume. The book counts with the unprecedented contribution of Jurandir Bezerra, Gregório’s son, who safeguarded the memory of his father; the historian Anita Prestes, daughter of Olga Benário and Luiz Carlos Prestes, who signs the presentation of the new edition; Ferreira Gullar on the fourth cover; and Roberto Arrais in the book’s jacket. In addition, there is the inclusion of testimonials by Oscar Niemeyer, Ziraldo, the lawyer Mércia Albuquerque, and Pernambuco’s governor (and grandson of Miguel Arraes) Eduardo Campos, among others.

In Memories, the communist leader goes over his life trajectory and rescues a rich period of Brazilian’s political history. The story encompasses the period between his birth (1900) to his release from prison in exchange for the kidnapped American ambassador, in 1969, and ends with his arrival in USSR, where he would stay until Amnesty, in 1979. While exiled, he started writing his autobiography.

Born in Panelas, Pernambuco’s agreste, at 180km from Recife, Gregório was the son of a poor country couple, whom he lost when still a child. As a 5 year old he already worked at sugar cane plantations. Illiterate up until 25 years old and militant since the first upraise of workers influenced by the Russian Revolution in 1917, Bezerra had an important role in main political events of the Brazilian left-wing, and, for this reason, he served a total of non-consecutive 23 years in jail in several prisons throughout time. He served as a federal legislator (the most voted one in 1964) affiliated to PCB (Brazilian Communist Party) and was a fierce combatant against the military dictatorship, which led him to be the protagonist of one of the most brutal acts of the newly installed post-coup dictatorship in 1964: he was captured and dragged around Recife’ streets by his captors, while the images were shown on the TV in Repórter Esso. The savagery caused such a commotion that registers of the torture were never found in the military archives.

In spite of his harsh reality, Gregório never spread hate or rancor. He was considered a sweet and kind man by everyone. Although not an intellectual, he was a great observer and a brilliant story teller. And his story is narrated like that, without purple prose or hypocrisy, going through his life in the country and the agreste in times of great drought, his life in Recife, his exile in USSR, the militancy in PCB. He said: “I don’t fight against people, I fight against the system that explores and crushes the majority of the people”. In 1983, Brazil lost this person who was one of its greatest protectors. Luckily, he left behind his memories, filled with truths and hope and that, above all, told the story of many other “Gregório”, who transformed their destinies into the fight to change the reality imposed.

Technical Specifications

Title: Memories (Memórias)
Author: Gregório Bezerra
Presentation: Anita Prestes
Jacket text: Roberto Arrais
Fourth Cover: Ferreira Gullar
Pages: 648
Price: R$74,00 (U$46.00)
ISBN: 978-85-7559-160-4
Publisher: Boitempo


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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