Bibliographies are critically important works, when properly organized and selectively reported. Happily for scholars, Rafael E. Tarragó has met the challenge in this splendid annotation of works on early U.S.-Hispanic relations. He tells us in the introduction that the 1776-1860 period and the Hispanic world were selected for two major reasons. One was sheer manageability of the literature, and the other was the formative character of the period, including “creation of the present conditions of the United States hegemony in the Western Hemisphere” (p. vii).
Tarragó is also properly explicit in identifying the many sources consulted, from libraries and catalogues to indexes and lists of periodicals. He is conscious of the necessity to make the voluminous contents readily accessible to scholar and student alike. Thus he includes a geographical index, an author index, and a list of periodicals indexed. A separate section titled “Guides and Aids” provides 48 basic sources found in bibliographies, historiographies, indexes, and guides to primary sources and documents.
The presentation of the material—783 citations in all—is arranged under five headings. The first is “General Works,” and the others treat “The United States and the Hispanic World” by chronological periods: before 1789, between 1789 and 1810, 1810-1826, and the first half of the nineteenth century. The final two sections are the longest. Citations under each of the five rubrics are further divided into separate classifications, which enhances the utility of Tarragó’s work.
The panoply of scholars whose names march across the pages is a vivid reminder of the rich intellectual heritage represented in this work. They remind us that North American pioneers of Latin American studies were often historians who focused on inter-American and U.S.-Hispanic relations. Among these eminent authors—not all of whom are as well remembered today as they deserve to be —are such figures as Samuel Flagg Bemis, John H. Latane, J. B. Lockey, Dana G. Munro, Dexter Perkins, W. R. Shepherd, Arthur P. Whitaker, and A. Curtis Wilgus. Others appear in Tarragó’s citations and indexes.
The editor, who has served as bibliographer for Latin American studies at the University of Notre Dame and as librarian for Ibero-American studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, has also recently provided a critical guide to reference works on Latin American politics. This further testifies to the thoroughness that is a hallmark of this annotated bibliography. The result is a solid contribution to scholarship on the period and topic that Tarragó explores.