This collection of essays on the independence era in what was the Kingdom of Guatemala converses in productive ways with similar collections published in recent years. Most notably, it speaks to and in some ways departs from Politics, Economy, and Society in Bourbon Central America, 1759–1821 (2006), edited by Jordana Dym and Christophe Belaubre. (Indeed, some authors write for both volumes.) The essays gathered here by Aaron Pollack cast themselves more decisively as “new political history,” to use Pollack's own phrase from the introduction (p. 45).

In the opening pages, after a series of excellent maps in color, Pollack offers a lucid and thorough introduction to the independence era, and his manner of integrating the chapter descriptions into a larger discussion of historiography is particularly admirable. Through this discussion Pollack identifies the earlier generation of scholarly work, which up to the mid-twentieth...

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