This modest sociological monograph is based on questionnaires submitted to nearly 600 University of Puerto Rico students in 1964. The results conform to what we have generally known about the Island’s university population. They are not oriented toward leftwing or nationalistic movements, thus running counter to the usually valid image of the Latin American student. Instead, at UPR, where the schools of pedagogy and business are the largest, students are “straight,” career-oriented with middle class goals, and careful to avoid political commitments.

Liebman indicates several reasons for this. Since the late 1940s, and under the firm (some say dictatorial) hand of Chancellor Jaime Benitez, most political activity has been banned on campus—a prohibition largely stemming from the proindependence activities there of Alibizu Campos Nationalists. Also, the students in the main want to “get ahead” within the existing Puerto Rican system. Children of the Puerto Rican elite, who, being secure economically, might otherwise form a radical vanguard, normally attend U.S. colleges. And half the students are women, with their greater incidence of religious commitment and natural conservatism. Finally, the UPR is an American land-grant college, and has always used continental models (especially Columbia and Chicago) to pattern its development.

There are many tables, of course—too many of them proving, or reproving what has already been established. For example, one on the greater conservatism of women compared with men, to which Liebman appends a charming sentence: “Our findings did, in fact, conform somewhat with these expectations.” But for a historian to argue any longer with sociological methodology is useless; not even C. Wright Mills could budge his colleagues methodologically.

The study took some time getting into print: too much time. Questionnaires from 1964, followed by another summer in Puerto Rico a year later, should not have been the exclusive basis for a 1970 publication. There is a perfunctory attempt to bring it up to date, but a footnote acknowledging the Ferré victory in 1968 (on the same page as a statement declaring that the PPD remains unbeatable), and a two page epilogue, are not acceptable up-dating.

In the book’s best sections the author himself writes about the people and the currents his tables and percentiles are supposed to illuminate. For example, he discusses in a final chapter the FUPI, or the militant, leftwing independence advocates. They comprised only 2 percent of the student population in 1964, though 23 percent of the students quizzed reported a desire for eventual independence. The “narrative” sections are quite subjective, and strongly proindependence. I mention this not to complain: Liebman and UPR students are entitled to whatever opinion on status they wish to cultivate. But when Liebman, doffing his social scientist cap, concludes that because of their stated attitudes most UPR students are living “by bread alone,” he might pause to consider the possibility that many statehood or commonwealth advocates have pondered the question, and concluded that their status solution affords the best hope for Puerto Ricans to enjoy bread and liberty.