Anyone wishing quick insight into the problems facing the Alliance for Progress and the friction which it has helped to produce in hemispheric relations might well start with these two pamphlets. All three authors have had direct experience in the field—the Americans as teachers, editors, or writers, the Colombian as a member of the Panel of Nine (the “Nine Wise Men”) under the Alliance itself. Both books sketch the historical background of the Alliance and summarize its purposes and early activities in relatively straightforward manner. Both recognize that the Alliance has met with some success but has also fallen short of many of its original goals.

The principal differences between the books and their chief value to the reader lie in their explanation of the Alliance’s failures and in the general atmosphere surrounding their judgments. Nystrom and Haverstock emphasize the need of experimentation in new problems of cooperation, the difficulty of reconciling rapid development with self help, and the vast problems of changing relatively static societies. Their general attitude is hopeful, discreet, a bit bland. To Agudelo Villa, however, the Alliance is “una revolución deformada” (p. 63) which has lost sight of its original goals. President Kennedy appears often in his pages, President Johnson almost never. In explaining the decline of the Alliance, Agudelo Villa gives most prominence to the insufficiency of American financial aid, the lack of truly multilateral direction, and the regrettable tendency of the United States to use financial aid as an instrument of policy. All three authors would probably agree that the Alliance has been basically pragmatic in nature, but their definitions of pragmatism would differ widely.

Probably neither book gives sufficient weight to Latin American shortcomings. While discoursing at some length on the population explosion and its effect on the Latin American standard of living, Agudelo Villa has nothing to say on any sort of birth control or planned parenthood. (Neither do the Americans.) Both books briefly recognize the obstacles posed in Latin America by reactionary privilege and corruption, but neither attempts any very penetrating analysis.