Enrique Williams Alzaga has presented Argentine specialists with the first complete study of the conspiracy of 1812 in Buenos Aires. His motive is to prove once and for all that the conspiracy did exist and that it was a threat to the patriot government. In both aims he succeeds in making his case.

The book is divided into three sections. The first is a detailed study of the various aspects of the conspiracy. The second, a year by year analysis of the activity of Juan Alzaga. The third an appendix which contains many of the documents which the author considers the most important to his presentation.

The first section covers the conspiracy. Ample documentation is offered to convince the reader that Diego da Souza and Gaspar Vigodet were conspiring to launch an invasion of Buenos Aires to coincide with an internal uprising of the penisulares led by Alzaga. Here little new information is offered pertaining to the conspiracy directly; however, secondary information is presented, e.g., the position and role of the Lautero Lodge, which is new.

The second section is the weaker of the two. Basically an attempt to justify Alzaga’s action on patriotic grounds, the argument fails due to Alzaga’s ambitions for power. Much is made of creole penisular rivalry; but the Alzaga which emerges is one with only one real political commitment, his own desire for complete political power. As presented by the author, Alzaga is understandable, but an unconvincing patriot.

The appendix is valuable for the documents which it contains and, on balance, the study is a welcome addition to the historical studies of Argentina’s independence movement.