“Modern Latin American history is brimming with heroes,” write Ben Fallaw and Samuel Brunk at the start of this collection of essays. Good analytical studies of these heroes are not quite so plentiful, although there is a growing literature on state commemoration, historia patria, and the intimate connections between nationalism and hero cults. This book, however, is concerned not so much with probing these connections as it is with championing a return of “the study of the individual — in this case, prominent ones — to the center of historical analysis” (p. 11). The volume consists of ten chapters concerned with the lives and reputations of individual historical actors, bracketed by an introduction and conclusion in which the editors propose some general rules about what makes a hero.

The individual chapters offer solid and in some cases really excellent analyses of their...

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