This is a particularly significant and timely book, not only because it surveys the writings of one of Latin America’s major twentieth-century political figures, but also because we are today witnessing the implementation of many of his early ideas by a reformist military regime in Peru. Apart from Harry Kantors useful, but uncritical study of Apra ideology published two decades ago, until now very little has appeared in English on the party and its founder, leading ideologue and jefe máximo, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre. Happily, Robert Alexander, well known for his numerous articles and books on Latin America, has now remedied this void with a comprehensive, wide ranging, though at times flawed, anthology of Haya’s principal ideas and thought.

The strength of this book lies in the editor’s careful selection of what I believe to be the most significant portions of Haya’s writing which spans more than four decades. Thus, Professor Alexander wisely relies upon Haya’s two major books that form the main philosophical underpinnings for his ideas. Reginning, logically enough, with passages from Espacio-tiempo-histórico, the editor then moves on to Haya’s seminal work El antiimperialismo y el Apra in which Haya brilliantly analyzes the Latin American socioeconomic structure and then formulates the idea for his now famous multi-class Aprista alliance. Professor Alexander recognizes the significance of this book, for it is translated and included in its entirety. The anthology also draws heavily on Haya’s later works many of which, as Alexander correctly points out, stand in marked contrast to his earlier study on imperialism. Indeed, the juxtaposing of these works and El antiimperialismo y el Apra illustrates the conservative drift in Haya’s political ideas and positions since 1945.

If, however, Professor Alexander can be congratulated on his judicious selections and felicitous translations which provide the reader with an excellent cross-section of Haya’s thought through the years, the same cannot be said for his introductory essay and annotations. Lamentably, the editor does not go very much, if at all, beyond Kantor’s earlier unanalytical study of Apra. His sketchy introduction, for example, uncritically accepts and repeats many of the standard clichés about Haya’s life and political career, most of which have been expounded by the party’s coterie of official and semi-official propagandists whose function has been to create a viable political mythology about the movement and its leader. Thus, we are unquestioningly told that Haya opposed an insurrection in Trujillo in 1931 (p. 13), that he had always steadfastly been opposed to the use of violence (p. n), and that he was fraudulently deprived of the Presidency in the 1931 election (p. 11), all at best highly dubious propositions. These and other points only serve to point out Professor Alexander’s overly sympathetic and largely uncritical appraisal of both Apra and Haya.

On the matter of annotations, the editor does not fare much better. Throughout the book there are numerous glaring omissions of facts which, if included, would have greatly illuminated the text. Typically, we are not informed that Haya wrote El antiimperialismo y el Apra in response to the sharp and ridiculing attacks by the Cuban Communist Julio Mella in his pamphlet satirically entitled “¿Qué es el Arpa?,” a fact that explains the combative tone and style of Haya’s counter-attacking prose. Similarly, Haya’s incisive 1931 campaign speech in the Plaza de Acho in Lima stands alone, without editorial comment on what was an unusually strident and polarized electoral campaign. Clearly such a commentary would have better oriented the reader into the historical context of the speech, a task which the editor unfortunately not only eschews here but also throughout the book.