This anthology of articles resulting from the 1982 conference on Frontier Expansion in Amazonia focuses on the policies of Amazonian countries as they deal with problems of development in the region. The purpose of the book is clearly to define current policy tren6ds, show where mistakes were made in the past, and indicate where new avenues of inquiry will produce workable solutions. In doing so, it reflects current research and is solidly grounded in field studies.

The collection is divided into four sections dealing with Indian policy, colonization and spontaneous settlement, ecological impact of development, and the role of state and private capital. Each section has a concise discussion of specific issues, bringing each article to bear briefly. The foreword by Charles Wagley sets the tone of the entire volume, pointing to the resurgence of interest in the region, and the need to learn from the past rather than simply copying it. Without such attention, he argues, the future of Amazonia is in serious jeopardy. While this is not a new viewpoint, he presents it forcefully and well.

The operative word for these articles is balance. The contributors dealing with ecological problems do not argue for a moratorium on activity, but rather for a rational development based on present knowledge and with latitude for changes as new information becomes available. Much the same approach appears in the articles on Indian policy, showing historical mistakes and demonstrating new avenues of investigation and cooperation. The information on colonization demonstrates the need for a different focus in bringing new settlers to Amazonia.

The contributions in this volume have clearly been steered away from the usual “case-study made into general statement” approach. Although a good deal of specific case-study material is presented, most authors address themselves to the larger issues. Further, by inserting considerable amounts of historical background into the work, the volume’s authors manage to present a highly readable, informative examination of the problems of Amazonian development. Relatively free from jargon, with the exception of the last section, the material is valuable for anthropologists, historians, and other social scientists alike. For anyone concerned about the future of Amazonia, which touches a number of different nations’ interests, this book is “must” reading.