Raúl Porras Barrenechea (1897—1960) is one of the key figures of twentieth-century Peruvian historiography. He entered the University of San Marcos in 1912, and was one of the active participants in the Reform Movement at the end of the decade. His 1921 El periodismo en el Perú was a model of thorough scholarship that he was to maintain during his academic career. His primary research focused on the colonial and independence periods. Porras was one of the first of the modern Peruvian historians to stress the need to conduct research for new materials in both Peruvian and European archives. His critical editions of sixteenth-century historians and search for and publication of important documents have provided the starting point for generations of young scholars. His Cartas del Perú, the Cedulario del Perú, the dictionaries and grammars of Domingo de Santo Tomás and Diego González Holguín, and the annotated bibliographical work, Fuentes históricas peruanas, are all basic references for the study of Peru.
In the present publication, Franklin Pease has provided a critical edition of the 1962 work on the cronistas, a monograph that quickly went out of print, yet was widely used by historians. In this new edition, Pease includes other important essays on the chroniclers, especially material on Pedro de Cieza de León and Felipe Huamán Poma de Ayala that Porras originally published separately. The current compilation, meticulously edited by Pease, is more accurate than the original. The chronology and indexes prepared by Oswaldo Holguín Callo are helpful, as is the annotated list of works by or about Porras. The edition also includes the contributions of Félix Álvarez Brun, Graciela Sánchez Cerro, Gloria Zapata, and Irma García. In short, this is a handsome as well as useful volume, and should be a standard addition to the libraries of all those interested in the colonial history of the Andean area.