As one who has also succumbed to the temptation to produce a Bolívar anthology, I am scarcely in a position to say there is no need for additional entries. Perhaps one of us should have chosen Mariano Moreno, or Toussaint l’Ouverture, or a cross-section of revolutionary leaders; but Bolívar would still continue to tower over the rest by the sheer power of his thought and of his style of expression. Nor can Professor Fitzgerald’s anthology be said to duplicate any of the others available in English. The fact that it is frankly limited to “political thought” is not enough to make it distinctive, because virtually all Bolívar’s significant writings are in some sense political. But it does present exclusively writings attributed to the Liberator himself, and presents them unabridged. In both respects, it resembles the standard, two-volume Bierck-Lecuna compilation, Selected Writings of Bolívar; indeed it uses the same translation. But it is naturally easier to handle, and it does contain the specific Bolivarian texts that most students of Latin American history or political theory will want to consult.
The selections include, needless to say, the Jamaica Letter and Angostura Address and message on the Bolivian constitution (though not the actual draft of the latter). They give relatively more attention than usual to the last years of Bolívar’s career, with such items as his messages to both the Convention of Ocaña (1828) and the Congreso Admirable (1830) and the “Panoramic View of Spanish America” of 1829. The editor has added introductory headnotes for all documents, infrequent explanatory footnotes, and a nine-page introduction to the volume as a whole that summarizes Bolívar’s life and the sources and broad characteristics of his thought. There are in that preliminary overview and in the footnotes/headnotes some minor statements that could have been formulated with greater precision, but in general the editorial material quite adequately accomplishes its purpose.