This work is useful in that it reviews the misconceptions and difficulties which have plagued the first three years’ existence of the Alliance for Progress; no one can doubt its timeliness.

The Nixon incident of 1958 is marked as a turning point in postwar policies. Subsequent moves, including Brazilian President Kubitschek’s launching of Operation Pan America and the establishment of the Inter-American Development Bank are shown as leading up to the Kennedy-sponsored Alliance.

The relative failure (or success) of the Alliance is placed in a proper context. Obaid and Maritano show that it was not, as was every other post-war American program in Latin America, a ‘crash program’ aimed at a specific ill; it has, rather, a revolutionary character and touches on all major problems: land reform, productivity, disease, illiteracy, taxation, commodity stabilization, inordinate military influence, and education in its broadest sense.

The authors attempt a laborious analysis of difficulties, which occupies half the work. Chapter Three, the longest in the book, is entitled “Cultural and Psychological Obstacles.” It contains a great many facile assertions based on supposed principles of hereditary and environmental determinism which affect Latin Americans. The Luso-Brazilian heritage, operative in one-third of the continent, rates only a fugacious mention. It is also difficult to accept their syllogism that: Spain’s culture is Spanish, Latin America’s culture is Spanish, ergo Latin America = Spain. Even so, the review of Spanish sociological criticism through the essayists from 18th-century Cadalso to contemporary Madariaga, which includes Larra, Mesonero Romanos, Pérez Galdós, and Unamuno, might be excellent for the initiate. One wonders why Latin American critics such as Manuel Ugarte, Ernesto Sábato, Alfonso Reyes, José Vasconcelos, Mariano Picón-Salas, Germán Arciniegas, or others were not utilized. A brief quotation without comment from an article by Gilberto Freyre underscores this dearth of research into autocritical Latin American thought. In a way, comment on Latin American thinkers ends with the beginning of the modern period and José Enrique Rodó.

The authors have anticipated most of the pitfalls in a necessarily diverse topic. Their generalizations on many of the geographic, economic, and demographic anomalies of Latin America are better substantiated than in their treatment of cultural considerations. While this is not a thesis on economics, the role of economies as played against the several national panoramas is succinctly stated. Nationalism, movements toward regional economic cooperation, and questions on the kind and extent of American participation are all included. Particularly impressive is the argument that rigid resistance to socio-economic reform by the oligarchies will lead to a resurgence of ‘popular fronts,’ with or without Communism and Castroism. There is also shown the absurdity of applying economic theories derived from statistics in ‘have’ nations to similar but misleading statistics in ‘have-not’ nations, where many tabulated as consumers are outside the ekumene. Another worthwhile admonition deals with the danger of equating the Alliance for Progress as a fight against Communism.

The contention that only Latin Americans of ‘foreign’ extraction (i.e. European and Near Eastern) have high standards of efficiency, responsibility, honesty, and hard work amounts to almost a diatribe at times. Description of mendicity as a way of life is certainly not the aim (as implied here) of indianista literature in Latin America. Such declarations are at best offensive and at worst harmful to the spirit and letter of the authors’ own conclusions, namely: we (Americans) are interdependent with Latin America; we must give up our superiority complex; we should respect other national cultures; and finally, we must modify our political, social, and economic cliches and develop flexible and tolerant policies according to circumstances. Within the mass of literature on the Alliance and related Latin American problems, this work represents a collection of observations which are based on a highly subjective selection of secondary sources. It rehashes materials familiar to Latin Americanists, but does not offer much that is new. One would question its merit as historical literature.