Resurrecting this 1952 publication for its series “Biblioteca Cruz del Sur,” the Editorial Francisco de Aguirre presents a popular patriotic account of one of Chile’s heroes of independence. The general’s Irish heritage, his service in defense of the patria vieja, his close relationship to Bernardo O’Higgins and his enmity toward the Carrera brothers, leading to his death in a duel, provide the substance of the narration.
The author’s credentials as a distinguished Chilean journalist are manifest in a lively and often melodramatic style. Composed almost entirely from the works of Diego Barros Arana, Francisco Encina, and Benjamín Vicuña MacKenna, the volume does not break new historical ground and is superficial in its task. Its audience, however, is not the scholar but the curious public. In this regard, the book achieves a measure of success through its illustrations, engaging prose, and by answering more questions than the general readership would normally pose.