Political leaders, no matter how much they try to centralize decision making, need to depend on a cadre of secondary leaders. Juan Perón shares this with all other leaders. Certainly one of the lacunae in our ever-growing knowledge of his years in power is in-depth studies of those who helped him with his regime: the men and women who made possible his ascent to power and helped keep him there. This is particularly important with Perón, since he had the well-deserved reputation of breaking with the stronger personalities who worked with him, probably because they represented, at least in his mind, potential challenges to his power.

Domingo A. Mercante is an intriguing subject for a biography. A military officer, he joined the secret organization of military officers — the GOU — that helped propel Perón into power. A personal friend of Perón, he...

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