James W. McGuire attempts to analyze why democracy has never flourished in Argentina. He focuses on the period after 1955, and the study of Peronism in particular, to make his points. He argues that the failure to build an institutionalized party structure played a key role in the process and that both Perón and other party leaders, mostly union bosses, deliberately sabotaged attempts to institutionalize the party or Peronism in general. McGuire concentrates on two key moments to prove his case: the struggle of Augusto Vandor against Perón in the early sixties and the period from 1984 to 1998, when some leaders tried but failed to create a more institutionalized movement.

The opening chapter lays out the author’s assumptions and includes a number of definitions. The following chapters provide a historical analysis of the events leading to the rise of Perón, his struggle against...

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