Chileanists will welcome the ambitious effort undertaken by the publishing house Francisco de Aguirre to make available in paperback form important books dealing with Chilean history, politics, and letters, including translations of works by foreigners. Currently the following colecciones are being offered: “Araucanía,” “Clásicos chilenos,” “Ciencias políticas,” “Cruz del Sur,” “Guerra Civil 1891,” “Guerra del Pacífico,” “Reino de Chile,” “Viajeros,” “Vicuña Mackenna.”

La revolución de 1891, somewhat short of being a reliable history of the Civil War, constitutes a highly personalized account of the military campaigns by a passionately anti-Balmaceda soldier-participant. Recuerdos del pasado, the best- known of these three books and a recognized classic in Latin American social and travel history, contains the engaging, chatty, fast-paced recollections of the intrepid trotamundo who exercised his multiple talents as painter, smuggler, journalist, senator, governor, theatrical impresario, California gold miner, and government agent for the German colonization of Southern Chile. Vicente Pérez Rosales’ delightfully witty observations on Chilean life and customs at midnineteenth century (1841-1860) ensure its continued popularity.

El incendio del Templo de la Compañía de Jésus by Vicuña Mackenna, the dean of Chile’s social historians and biographer of the city of Santiago, describes the devastating fire in the Compañía in 1863. The holocaust claimed over 2,000 lives and led to the founding of the Santiago corps of firemen. Although well written and moving in retelling how the city responded to its tragedy, it may only appeal to the handful of scholars in this country whose interest lies in nineteenth- century Chilean social and urban history.