Costa Rica has a long history of beguiling foreigners with its natural beauty, its political stability, and the congeniality of its people. The books under review were written by three North American scholars and a Costa Rican writer, who came of age intellectually and professionally in Costa Rica during the 1970s and 1980s. They offer an overview of the historiography of Costa Rica over the last 30 years, primarily from the perspective of foreign scholars.

Ciencia social en Costa Rica is an engrossing and entertaining set of essays by two U.S. scholars (Edelman and Lehoucq), a Canadian (Palmer), and a Costa Rican (Molina). These four autobiographical essays highlight the attractions and the difficulties of studying Costa Rica. They also convey the extremely accidental paths that led these four scholars to the country, their expertise, and the academic world. I was continually struck by how these “accidental scholars” stumbled into their...

You do not currently have access to this content.