-- Boston Globe
"Riding the Rails sets out to tell about the 250,000 teenagers who hopped freights and lived the hobo life in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash...Uys paints a brisk, colorful, fast-paced portrait of lean times and high hopes."
-- Tulsa World
"With more than 500 interviews and stunning archival photographs, Uys thoroughly recreates the wretched conditions the boxcar boys and girls endured."
-- Chicago Tribune
"One of the most poignant memories of the wandering youth of the Great Depression."
-- Sacramento Bee
"As gripping as it is well-researched."
-- Denver Post
"A remarkable story"
-- Kansas City Star
"An elegantly presented and quietly moving collection of firsthand reminiscences, capturing a unique moment in American history. Enthusiastically recommended for all public libraries."
-- Library Journal
" Whether you're a "gaycat" (novice rider) or a "dingbat" (seasoned hobo), Riding the Rails is entertaining and inspiring, recapturing a time when the country was "dying by inches." -- Sunny Delaney, History Editor
Pulsing with vigor, this is a vast novel to tell the story of a vast country. Uys depicts Brazil's evolution from colony to empire to republic. Lacing the tale together are two families: the Cavalcantis, planters and slave owners; and representing another fundamental social stream, the da Silvas, prospectors, adventurers, seekers of El Dorado.
The principal characters, both real and imaginary are hard to forget. Among them: the great Indian warrior, Aruãna; Secundus Proot, a Dutch artist who wanders into the interior to paint Indians; Black Peter, a freed African slave who takes murderous revenge on his persecutors; Francisco Solano Lôpez, doomed and gallant president of Paraguay; Anthony the Counselor, visionary rebel.
Uys re-creates history almost entirely "at ground level," even more densely than Michener, through the eyes and actions of an awesome cast of characters.-- Publishers Weekly
Uys has interwoven five centuries of Brazilian history and generations of two fictional families into a massive, richly detailed novel, Michenerian in sweep and scope, informative and intriguing. Whether recounting grisly rituals in which captives of the Tupiniquin are prepared for slaughter (and subsequent consumption), the ill-fated albeit heroic effort of Padre Inácio Cavalcanti to convert the Tupiniquin to Christianity, or the fanciful expeditions of Amador Flores da Silva as he searches for emeralds, Uys has a sense of pace and an eye for detail that rarely fail him. -- Washington Post
Uys smoothly interweaves a series of self-contained episodes into a sprawling saga that spans five centuries. The richness and authenticity of the setting and the historical detail make the investment in this lavish drama eminently worthwhile.-- Booklist
This is not a caricature of Brazil, a country of endless carnival and happy samba dancers. Brazil offers a painless introduction to a country and people whose development has a sweep and drama similar to our own. One of Mr. Uys's characters stands out above all the others: Amador Flores da Silva, a fictional creation intended to embody the virtues and many vices of the bandeirantes, the semi-savage "flag bearing" pioneers who opened up the Brazilian interior to "civilization." Flores da Silva is a complicated figure, ashamed of his mixed Indian and Portuguese background, driven by an insatiable curiosity and possessing a tenacity that enables him to survive one adversity after another. He is a man capable of hunting down a close companion with whom he spent years fighting Indians in the Amazon and also ordering the execution of his own son for disobedience on an expedition, but his overwhelming vitality makes him compelling and even sympathetic on occasion.-- New York Times Book Review
-- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Dynamic, excellently researched, free from the eternal stereotypes about Brazil.-- Estado do São Paulo
Uys's unsentimentalized chronicle combines great adventure with an impressive level of research. His intermingling of real historical figures with the fictional Cavalcantis and da Silvas create an aura of verisimilitude that makes history come alive. The epic history of Brazil has been accorded its due in this panoramic novel.-- Magill Book Reviews
The reader is entranced from the moment he is introduced to the young cannibal Aruanã until the story ends with Amilcar da Silva gazing from a Brasilia skyscraper at the vast sertão, the heart of the country that was unconquerable for nearly five centuries. The writing skill of Uys is evident in the way he has taken graphic stories from periods of Brazil's history and developed them into a balanced novel that equals any of the epics of James A Michener.-- Nashville Banner