This volume, the fourth publication of the Heath Problems in Latin American Civilization Series, contains sixteen readings which survey the development and expressions of Positivism during the nineteenth century in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Carribean. Of the sixteen selections, all but two (excluding parts of two others) have been printed before and were available in English. The “primary” materials include selections from the writings of the Chilean positivist Valentin Letelier, the Puerto Rican intellectual Eugenio María de Hostos, the Argentine theorist Juan Bautista Alberdi, and the Honduran politician Ramón Rosa. Apart from these authors the volume is a book of secondary readings.

Not complementing their value is the addition of a somewhat inflated bibliography which contains more survey texts and political histories than it does works on Latin American intellectual history. The annotations, although at times helpful for the beginning student, can be misleading and in some instances erroneous (e.g., describing Jesús Cuevas, author of El positivismo en México, as an advocate of Positivism when in actuality he was a clerical apologist who helped to lead Mexico’s anti-positivist crusade).

Like other entries in the Heath “Problems” series, the organization and subtitle must perpetuate the fallacy of the excluded middle. Fortunately in this instance, the invention of the subtitle was not followed by an attempt to implement it as the message of the book. Obviously the positivists themselves did not believe order and progress were irreconcilable, and there is little need for a new generation of students to believe or disbelieve likewise, especially since their concern should be more with history than metahistory. If the book has some merit it remains the way the various authors, when viewed collectively, demonstrate the multiplicity of positivistic expressions throughout Latin America, thereby reinforcing the common sense observation that a Peruvian positivist is more concerned with the indigenous “problem” than an Argentine one is.