The historiography of modern Panama is so limited in both quantity and quality that any new book on that country stands, for better or worse, as a major publishing event. If that were not the case, this book probably would have been listed with “Other Books Received.” Priestley has written a volume which consists of seven chapters, the first two serving to detail the historical backdrop for the Torrijos regime. In terms of the general emphasis of the book—the incorporation of the Panamanian people through careful social and ideological manipulation into the political system—the other chapters stand as parenthetical commentaries: while they address specific cases (San Miguelito or the connection between the far left and cooperative agriculture), they do not carry the reader in any general direction. Indeed, only in the short summary is the central theme addressed in a logical fashion. Aside from a few interviews, Priestley has not fully exploited unpublished primary materials available in Panama, although it must be admitted that the bulk of the documentation relating to the 1970s has not yet been released to or organized at the Archivo Nacional. Perhaps the most blatantly obvious problem with the book is that it misspells hundreds of Spanish words—not a single accent or ñ appears, not even in the extensive bibliography! An authoritative study of the Torrijos era—and of popular participation in Panamanian politics— remains to be written.
Book Review| February 01 1987
Military Government and Popular Participation in Panama: The Torrijos Regime, 1968-1975
Military Government and Popular Participation in Panama: The Torrijos Regime, 1968-1975. By Priestley, George.
1986. . Pp.
166. Paper. $20.00.
Hispanic American Historical Review (1987) 67 (1): 178.
Giiristopher Ward; Military Government and Popular Participation in Panama: The Torrijos Regime, 1968-1975. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 February 1987; 67 (1): 178. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-67.1.178
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