Drawing largely on secondary sources, Brian Loveman has written a careful history of Latin American militaries and their involvement in civilian affairs. His work is impressive for its breadth. Loveman begins with the origins of the military’s self-perception in the reconquista and the colonial period, and then uses nationalism and nation building as unifying concepts to show how the military adapted its old ideals to the nineteenth century. With this approach, Loveman successfully illustrates the extent to which the experience of Latin American militaries paralleled each other into the modern era. For example, in his section on foreign military missions, Loveman carefully explains why military modernization was accompanied by the armed forces’ increasing use of apolitical and often antidemocratic rhetoric throughout Latin America.

Loveman’s impressive knowledge of twentieth-century civil-military relations lends the latter half of the book special depth. Chapters six, seven, and...

You do not currently have access to this content.