Although the tape recorder has not yet revolutionized the study of history, it has at least added a completely new dimension. Scholars have long used personal interviews to gain information not available in documents. But accuracy was difficult, if not impossible, when the oral words had to be taken down by hand or on a typewriter. The ease and efficiency of using a tape recorder put an end to that problem. Oral history programs proliferate in the universities of the United States. James W. Wilkie, now based at UCLA, began such a program at Ohio State University, and this volume is the first published result of his interviews in Latin America.

Aided by his wife, Edna Monzón de Wilkie, James Wilkie talked at length with leading political figures in Mexico, drawing them out in numerous sessions to reveal hitherto unknown aspects of Mexico’s recent history. Here are his interviews with Ramón Beteta, Alemán’s secretary of the Treatury; Marte R. Gómez, a Zapatista; Manuel Gómez Morín, leader of PAN; Vicente Lombardo Toledano, Marxist labor union leader; Miguel Palomar y Vizcarra, of the Catholic Action movement; Emilio Portes Gil, provisional president in 1928; and Jesús Silva Herzog, Marxist and journalist.

James and Edna Wilkie have since taken their recorder and tapes to Costa Rica, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Speaking for all true Mexicanists, however, I wish that they could come back to Mexico fairly soon to interview Miguel Alemán, Lázaro Cárdenas, Daniel Cosío Villegas, David Siqueiros, Carlos Fuentes—the list is endless!