Jorge Gelman’s Rosas, estanciero offers a concise look at how Juan Manuel de Rosas used negotiation and consensus to run his large estancias. Toward the end of the book, Gel-man argues that those experiences on the estancia contributed to Rosas’s ability to legitimize his political rule and strengthen the authority of the state in ways his predecessors failed to do. Gelman’s focus on this neglected aspect of Rosista history — his negotiation and consensus building — make this a revisionist work, though not in the hagiographic sense of the traditional Rosista revisionist school.

Traditional views of Rosas suggest that his experiences as an authoritarian rancher prepared him to be an authoritarian caudillo-governor. Gelman also sees parallels between the rancher and the politician, but in a much different way. Basing his well-documented conclusions on primary sources for the most part, Gelman argues that Rosas had little choice...

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