The late Carlos E. Chardón, a Puerto Rican student of the Independence period in northern South America and a man well acquainted with both Colombia and Venezuela, left, among other unpublished writings, the two essays and appendix which form this book. The first essay, an interpretative examination of the historical role of Francisco de Miranda, treats the Precursor sympathetically and views him as a necessary prelude, setting the scene for the emergence of the dynamic Simón Bolívar. Chardón’s Miranda is a man whose foibles and failures are outshone by his globetrotting and his constant efforts on behalf of Spanish American independence. Much of the contents of this essay appeared in the author’s El Precursor Francisco de Miranda: Introducción a Bolívar (Mayagüez, 1964).

In the second essay, Chardón attempts to portray Simón Bolívar’s actions and attitudes during 1812-1814, including the time when he was serving under Miranda in the First Republic. Like many before him, Chardón is intrigued by the change which occurred in the future Liberator’s spirit between July and December 1812. The fast-moving events of the Admirable Campaign of 1813 and the disastrous demise of the Second Republic of Venezuela in 1814 are compared wherever possible to the earlier experiences of Miranda, and Bolívar’s War to the Death Decree of June 15, 1813 is strongly condemned. The appendix is a short consideration of the loss of Puerto Cabello by Bolívar (June 30, 1812) and the deep impression that this event made on his life.

Based upon the standard secondary sources, this little volume adds no new facts to the biographies of Miranda or Bolívar. Its main theme, running consistently throughout the text, is Chardón’s effort to apply Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum’s criteria of the genius in history to Miranda and to Bolívar. On the whole, this small book is refreshing if not overly profound.