Having already written this “valiant” story in a previous Spanish edition, the author reflects her further zeal in translating for English readers this account of women teachers of the United States working in Argentine education. In her diary-like account of these valiant women the value of the text is marked by insight into the local political, economic, and social life of the Argentine Republic during the nineteenth century. This is an informative book, delightfully written in a somewhat journalistic style which is the author’s forte. She knows Argentina and Latin America well from journalistic experience and travel with her husband, an engineer who worked many years in Latin America.
The book is an apparently intimate account of the almost primitive beginnings of elementary schools in the formative years of the modern Argentine nation. The specific story of the American teachers is not told until the second and third parts of the book. Part one is dedicated to a short biography of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and vividly explains why he was called the “school master president.” With constant energy, his crusading zeal, and the help of Mrs. Horace Mann, he recruited the first group of valiant women to give quality and direction to public education in Argentina. The author describes the many problems of women in public, church and state conflict, and the dangerous health conditions. Through the many personal letters, papers, and interviews, she writes with enough interest and continuity to make the book well worth reading, although one might venture adverse criticism at the text’s abrupt ending.