The subject of this book is the Quebracho Revolt of 1886 against Máximo Santos, one of three soldiers who dominated Uruguayan politics from 1875 to 1890. Traditionally, Argentine historians have viewed this event as a minor, foreign episode, although Uruguayan rebels used Argentina as a base for their operations at the end of Julio Roca’s first administration.

Alicia Vidaurreta has made a significant contribution to understanding the revolt by placing it within the context of Río de la Plata politics: showing the effect of the preparations of the revolutionaries on domestic politics in Argentina and the danger that Uruguay’s troubles could escalate into an international crisis with the involvement of Brazil or Argentina.

The one problem is that only a few pages are devoted to Argentine economic interests and overall strategy of preventing the rise of Montevideo as a strong economic rival. This limited treatment is all the more obvious since the topic forms part of the title (“el revés de la trama”) and documentation takes up nearly one-half of the book. This problem, however, may be due to a circumstance alluded to by the author: the large amount of documentation in private archives that is inaccessible to scholars.