Few subjects in Latin American history have given rise to such an enormous but heterogenous historiography, in at least a dozen languages, as the 30 Jesuit Guarani missions in the River Plate. Barbara Ganson’s recent book is clearly outstanding in its coverage of archival and bibliographic sources. She intends to provide an example of the “adjustments that indigenous peoples made and how they coped with Spanish colonial rule,” and she wants to present a “revisionist interpretation of the Jesuit mission in Paraguay.” She focuses on the controversial 1750–1850 period, beginning with the Guarani rebellion of the 1750s and the Jesuit expulsion of 1767–68.

I think her book is very satisfactory for the general reader, but specialists will notice more problems. In order to put the Indians in focus, she presents the Jesuits in less than two pages, giving us no idea about the...

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