This book is a pleasure to look at and to read, despite the tragic history it reflects. Brief essays by the translator, Walter G. Bragg; the poet and priest, Ernesto Cardenal; the photographer, Joel C. Sheesley; and the general editor, Jack W. Hopkins, introduce some 90 excerpts from the writings of Augusto Sandino (drawn from Sergio Ramírez’ 1981 edition of Sandino’s thought), accompanied by striking photographs recently shot in Nicaragua and useful listings of historical events relevant to Sandino’s life and times.

According to the translator, the selections from Sandino’s writings were carefully chosen, condensed, and simplified in order to make Sandino’s person and ideas accessible to English-speaking readers while preserving the meaning and impact of his thought and image. This has been successfully accomplished. The selected passages do indeed reveal the essence of Sandino’s life and thought: his venturesome youth, his growing political consciousness during his years abroad, his bitter responses to decades of U.S. intervention, his military and political exploits during his six-year revolt, and finally his tragic conflict with Anastasio Somoza and the U.S.-trained national guard, which ended with his assassination.

Of major importance to this book’s appeal are Sheesley s photographs. Nearly half of them in color, they focus upon popular images of Sandino that during the years of Sandinista rule were drawn, stenciled, painted, or scrawled in public places all over Nicaragua, serving both as official propaganda and spontaneous self-expression. His photos, Sheesley writes, are not intended to illustrate the text, “but rather to be read along with it as a contemporary visual transformation of the ethos of Sandino” (p. xxi), providing a visual link between past and present. In fact, like Hokusai in his views of Fujiyama, where the great Japanese mountain is at times but a speck in a larger landscape, Sheesley has produced photographic art in which his primary subject, the popular image of Sandino, is sometimes secondary to his stark and beautiful scenes of modern Nicaragua and its people. Combining words of protest and revolt written more than half a century ago with fresh visual impressions of the modern nation, this book will serve both students and a broader public as a moving introduction to present-day Nicaragua, where Sandino’s legacy and message remain a robust and vital force.