The format of the book is attractive; the black and white and colored reproductions of the painter’s works are well presented, and the translation is adequate. The autobiography, formerly available only in the Spanish original, is both an important document in the history of recent Mexican painting and a perceptive source for Mexican social history.

The illustrations are significant for the study of Orozco’s work; two paintings and five drawings were never before published. The illustrations are extremely well chosen, for they include preparatory drawings for the well-known mural paintings. The preparatory drawings are much less easily accessible than the often published frescoes themselves. Through the drawings one is able to see how he composed his paintings and developed his powerful and monumental murals.

The text details in condensed and economical prose a powerful personal statement of the artist. He describes his training in the Academy of San Carlos and gives his teachers their due credit, recounts the lessons he learned from watching Posada at work, and heaps scorn upon the unschooled who also practice painting. His adventures during the Mexican Revolution were, as he points out, less exciting than had generally been thought, but important for developing the powerful humanity that fills his works and gives them their strength and greatness.

The social historian will find, in the irony, the satire, and even the sarcasm of Orozco, keys to understanding Mexico during and since the Revolution. For Americans his accounts of visits to San Francisco, New York, and Dartmouth College are perceptive, including his view of the Great Depression, Alma Reed, and her intellectual group in New York.

One feels in re-reading the autobiography in English the great stature of Orozco as a man—his written word complements his art. Through this autobiography we realize why he became the greatest painter of the New World, one of the giants of this century—he was a serious and dedicated man, eschewing the politically and socially fashionable for the fundamental, as he created a life as solid and significant as his works.