Horacio J. Cuccorese claims to have written a book for the use of Argentine university students enrolled in a course on the history of historiography (p. 422). He desired to introduce young students of Argentine historiography to a number of nonhistorians who have made major contributions to the field of socioeconomic history. In part, Cuccorese doubts that an official Argentine historiography exists, but he also believes that scientific historians comprise only a part of the spectrum of intellectuals who have tried to unravel the nation’s complex social and economic past. Because of its survey nature, the book will disappoint experts in the field, but it does provide a useful synopsis of the works of a number of controversial Argentine intellectuals.

In order to demonstrate an evolution of nationalistic interpretations, Cuccorese has divided his book into three parts. Part one presents Juan Agustín García, Juan Alvarez, Juan B. Justo, and José Ingenieros as precursors of Argentine socioeconomic history in the twentieth century. He devoted a chapter to each intellectual, following a formula he used throughout the book. Starting with a brief biographical sketch, the author states the individual’s concept of history, summarizes the major works by using extensive quotations, surveys the reaction of contemporaries, and finishes with a final judgment of his own. The latter invariably amounts to an explanation as to why the particular intellectual should be included in a study of Argentine historiography, despite the fact that most of the men treated in the book did not follow scientific historical methodology as defined by Cuccorese.

Part two summarizes the themes of a new school of history. Following a brief chapter on the new school’s characteristics, and comments about Rómulo D. Carbia, Alejandro Korn, and Emiliano Ravignani, the author includes chapters on Ricardo Levene and Emilio A. Coni. Part three completes Cuccorese’s effort to trace the evolution of nationalistic socioeconomic historiography during the twentieth century. An unusually long chapter on Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz and a shorter one on Ricardo M. Ortiz appear under the heading of political and economic nationalists. Cuccorese believes that Scalabrini and Ortiz made major contributions to Argentine historiography although neither adhered to scientific methodology nor gave adequate proofs to support their nationalistic interpretations. They, like most of the subjects of the book, were men of action.

The book, written in a textbook fashion, lacks clear direction. Its value lies in the simple idea that many nonprofessional historians have written important studies of Argentina’s social and economic development. Cuccorese could have stated as much in a short article, but for the fact that he evidently wanted a textbook for his students to use.