A team of six historians, under the direction of Alejandro San Francisco, recently began publishing a multivolume history of Chile that will interpret the country's complex changes of the last half century. Volume 1 is an overview of events from the 1930s to the formation of the Christian Democratic Party in 1957. Volume 2 is dedicated exclusively to the six years of Jorge Alessandri's presidency, 1958–64. Although the chronology of the second volume seems to follow the six-year presidential terms in Chile, this comprehensive work is far more than a political history. It includes extensive economic and social changes accompanied by many statistical tables. The documentation of sources is impressive and valuable for further research. Illustrations of historical figures and events add to the volumes' attractiveness.

In contrast to the authors of many national histories, the authors of these volumes are very...

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