A new photo-heavy book, Inside the Favelas, explores with great depth the shantytown neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro.

Photographer and author Douglas Mayhew digs deep into the economies and societies of these slums, documenting a much more interesting version of the city than is usually seen in beach-and-bikini postcards.

A forward from the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral Filho, sets the tone for the book:

Inside the Favelas is the result of diligent work and research, whose richness of detail offers the reader a historic and sociological view of the day-to-day life of the favelas communitities infiltrated by the drug traffickers and the struggle for peace and consolidation since the installation of the [Police Peace Units]. Reason and sensibility are found in his sound text, in the fine writing and in the photos.

Perhaps most fascinating is a lengthy section on favela "cats," or illegal electrical connections that form tangled overhead webs that he deftly captures in his color-saturated photos.

Photos from Inside the Favelas, Rio de Janeiro by Douglas Mayhew, copyright © 2012, published by Glitterati Incorporated.

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