Fisherman Joaquim was almost one of the lucky ones. He was on the point of cashing in on the big boom when his daughter Soccoro’s hair got caught in the camshaft of his boat’s engine and Joaquim had to sacrifice all he had to pay for years of treatment. As she healed, Soccoro discovered that there were hundreds of women in a similar position, and now she is a well-known Brazilian women’s rights activist. She is one of the many people Ruedi Leuthold meets on his travels. He tags along with Judge Nivaldo on her floating courthouse, calling at Amazonia’s remotest villages to resolve disputes, and he meets scientists who court danger as they work to save the rainforest from the avarice of the powerful cattle barons. Brazil once stood for the Samba, stylish football, poverty and corruption. All these things still exist, and when the country hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Brazilians will once again demonstrate that they’re no strangers to the carnival or the Beautiful Game. Leuthold concludes that while we can’t get to grips with Brazil by applying western standards, the country’s enthusiasm and joie de vivre is still as irresistible as ever.