Among the historians who have studied the Latin American military, Robert Potash ranks high indeed. His works on Argentina detailing the political role of the army in politics during the better part of this century are models of scholarship. His use of military sources allows him to reveal the military side of the profession’s relations with the rest of society, its place in modern Argentine history.

The present volume carries the saga of Argentine military-civilian relations from the ouster of Arturo Frondizi in 1962 up to the point when the aging Juan Perón was restored to power, in 1973. It serves as both the concluding volume of Potash’s trilogy and the introduction to a possible new era of military-civilian relations worthy of scholarly attention. Perón’s restoration was short-lived, but his military successors proved more unacceptable, because of the harshness of their rule, than any previous military leaders. The guerra sucia at home and the Falklands-Malvinas campaign in the South Atlantic cost the armed forces more dearly than had any past political action. This book makes clear just how much further work needs doing.

Historians who aspire to study the post-1973 years will not only need to consult Potash’s work for necessary background, they will have to pay attention to the ways in which he assembled his documentation and used it. They will need to know the army the way Potash has come to know it since he began his trilogy some three decades ago.

Eleven years is not a very long time as history goes, but as politics goes, it can be an eternity. In Latin America, a lot can transpire between armed forces and civilians in a very short time, especially if the military dominates politics for most or all of it. In nine intense chapters, Potash takes his readers from 1962 to 1973 without missing a detail of the intricate, intra-institutional negotiations and confrontations between military and political leaders that produced the overthrows and restorations, or the compromises and dissension, that characterized this brief and critical segment of Argentine history. A brief tenth chapter treats some of the issues important to those who will chronicle the recent period.

Potash’s intimate knowledge of the Argentine army and his acquaintance with many of its leaders allow him to see clearly all facets of military-civilian relations. His documentation is thorough, and he avoids, for the most part, appearing to lean toward institutional explanations of the armed forces’ actions. Not many chroniclers of Latin American military-civilians have enjoyed the access to official sources that Potash displays in this fine book. It is a fitting conclusion to Potash’s saga of the army and politics in Argentina.