He becomes a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, where he engages in research and enjoys the companionship of younger scholars. His wife dies in 1987. Four years later he meets a young divorcee and falls in love with her. He wants to marry her, but she refuses and eventually leaves him for a younger man. He remains busy and active. In the late 1980s he returns to the subject of Brazil's economic development, which has troubled him since his days as US ambassador and the failure of the Alliance for Progress. He tries to answer the question of why the theories that worked with the Marshall Plan did not work in Brazil, a task that occupies him for the next decade. His work parallels Brazil's own progress toward development and political stability: as Brazil progresses, so does his book. His last major book is devoted to explaining Brazil's evolution toward stability. (In a later-published Supplement to this work he seeks to rebut the charge that he and the United States helped to organize the military coup of 1964.) He makes a triumphal promotional tour for the Portuguese edition of Brazil's Second Chance as he nears the age of ninety. The release of secret Kennedy tapes stirs up the controversies over the military coup of 1964, and he departs Brazil both reviled and admired for his long involvement with the country.
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