Zorrilla’s position is different, and, in fact, unpopular. He is sympathetic toward Iturbide and believes him to have been a patriotic and misunderstood figure who deserved a second chance. However, this one main virtue of the book is practically negated by its main flaw: an obvious onesidedness that fails to consider possible any bad faith on Iturbide’s part. Zorrilla includes little or nothing unfavorable to what he calls “the sad case of Iturbide.”

This volume is a collection of source materials connected with the return of ex-Emperor Iturbide to Mexico and his execution in 1824, including personal letters of the ex-Emperor, eyewitness reports, and a fairly extensive reference to legal proceedings, official conferences, and the Mexican laws involved in the matter, each prefaced by a short explanatory introduction but very rarely accompanied by an adequate analysis.

The volume is well organized chronologically, and sources are well documented. The material available to Zorrilla was fairly extensive, as indicated in his bibliography of over 30 books (two-thirds of which, incidentally, were published in the last 30 years); but notably missing is original archival research, indicating that most likely nothing at all new is offered here. Zorrilla is neither a detective nor an incisive synthesizer, in this work, at least; however, his analysis of some of the documents is imaginative. For example, precisely in the manner of a lawyer, he analyzes the constitutionality and applicability of the legislation upon which Iturbide’s capture and execution were based. However there is little research into facts which might shed more light on the documents at hand—documents which have already been published anyway, and which he is now merely organizing in a new way. In most instances he tends to take things at face value, arriving at some conclusions which a more skeptical and investigative historian would seriously question and joyfully attempt to sleuth out. There is for example, his armchair decision that Iturbide’s renunciation of the throne, coupled with the contents of a certain letter to his son, “definitely proves” he was not now returning to resume power; and Zorrilla’s conclusion that a single letter to George Canning overturns any possible presumption of British involvement in Iturbide’s return.

Despite such criticisms, this volume is of definite interest to anyone studying Iturbide. The documents presented offer opportunities for an even finer specialization, and Zorrilla has selected some extremely important documents that are quite illuminating as to Iturbide’s character and motives, as well as those of his opponents. But these sources need a more objective treatment and deeper interpretation than Zorrilla has given them.