Today’s traveler to the Land of the Quetzal will enjoy perusing this brief compilation, whose purpose is “to present a concise, factual identification of important persons, places and events of Guatemala’s past” (p. 3). Also included are selections on certain topographical features, special Indian words or expressions, lists of Spanish governors and Guatemalan presidents, and some major present-day place names and events.
But the professional historian will find the volume lacking. A limited bibliography with some outdated items contributed to erroneous interpretations and serious omissions. The first and second Marquis de Aycinena, for example, are not included. A recent work on Frederick Chatfield has documented the fact that the Pacto de Chinandega was not the result of Francisco Morazán’s return to Central America. José Francisco Barrundia would turn over in his grave at this statement: “From 1840 until his death, he was an important figure in the Carrera government” (p. 21). Ramón A. Salazar was better known as a historian than as a literary figure; Narcisco Esparragosa was a Venezuelan; José Matías Delgado was from El Salvador; and José Felipe Flores was born in Chiapas. By 1964 the Biblioteca Guatemalteca consisted of eleven volumes, not six.