In this volume, a sequel to El Apra en busca del poder, 1930-1940 (reviewed in the HAHR in May 1977), Villanueva continues his study of the relationship between Apra, particularly Haya de la Torre, and the Peruvian military. Beginning with the 1939 election, Villanueva explains why Haya wanted a military coup to stop Manuel Prado and how he continued his search for the “right” general throughout the Prado presidency and that of José Luis Bustamante y Rivero.
Simultaneously, Haya tried to induce the United States to intervene and oust Prado—charging he was pro-Axis—and even worked closely with the FBI in tracking down German and Japanese agents (unfortunately, Villanueva had completed this before he and I interviewed ex-Aprista Julio Cárdenas, tire legendary “El Negus,” who personally captured Japan’s leading agent, “The Red Dragon,” and discovered three German airfields in the jungle).
Villanueva then analyzes the 1945 election, Haya’s unsuccessful efforts to win support from both junior and senior officers 1945-1948, and the events leading to and the aftermath of Manuel Odría’s coup in 1948. Since Villanueva was a leading participant in these events, this book is really a primary source for the period and as such constitutes a valuable contribution to the literature on Peruvian politics, APRA, and the military.