This anthology presents salient aspects of the career and public service of Grand Marshal Ramón Castilla. The publisher’s expressed purpose is to exalt Castilla as the paradigm of Peruvian nationality. Along with its sister organization, the Centro de Estudio Histórico-Militares, the Instituto has done much to bring nineteenth-century Peru into a new perspective. Both organizations are under the direction of the prominent military historian, retired General Felipe de la Barra.

The volume consists of two parts. The first, subtitled “El Estadista,” contains lectures given at the military academy in 1945 in commemoration of the centennial of Castilla’s first assumption of power; Mariano Felipe Paz Soldán’s pioneer biography of the Grand Marshal (1879); and essays by Jorge Basadre, General Carlos Miñano, the late Víctor Andrés Belaúnde, and others. These contributions, which include articles on naval policy and the 1858-1860 campaign against Ecuador, are of uneven quality but taken together convey a picture of Castilla as a noble patriot laboring to bring order and progress to his country after two decades of strife. Possibly the writers have overemphasized his role in establishing the rule of law.

The second part of the book, “El Soldado,” is a revised edition of Felipe de la Barra’s Castilla conductor militar, which appeared in 1962, and provides an adequate general survey of the hero’s military career. Beginning as a royalist cadet, Castilla was captured by the patriots at Chacabuco, served as a patriot lieutenant colonel at Ayacucho, led the Restoration against Santa Cruz’ confederation, and participated both in the war of 1841 against Bolivia and in subsequent civil conflicts. Chronologies and maps are included.

Although this book is certainly factually useful, it appears to lack depth, analysis, and synthesis. A more penetrating biography of Castilla is needed.