This edited volume brings together a collection of substantial essays devoted to Latin American economic history written by accomplished scholars. As is common to this academic genre, the independently written essays are not integrated in such a way that the reader is able to follow a single logically developed and coherent argument from one author to the next. Nevertheless, the editors are to be congratulated for having produced a remarkable and important contribution to our efforts to understand the late colonial and early national periods of Latin American history. The contributions are uniformly excellent, but, unfortunately, space limitations here prevent me from commenting on each of the fifteen essays.

The essays are distributed among four sections organized topically and chronologically. The first two sections focus on internal markets and prices in the colonial period. The third section is devoted to internal markets in the national period. The final section combines essays on the mining industry in Chile, the labor market of Argentina’s sugar region, the Mexican capital market, and indigenous contributions to commercial reconstruction in southern Peru. All of the essays are generously illustrated with numerous tables and graphs. These valuable statistical summaries alone make this volume essential to any serious student of Latin American economic history.

In recent years, the field of economic history has attracted diminished attention from Latin American historians in the United States while enjoying a remarkable renaissance in Latin America itself. This important collection of new essays by some of Latin America’s most talented historians is a striking reminder of how important the region’s economic history is to our efforts to represent social and cultural arrangements in the past.

The essay coauthored by Enrique Tandeter, Vilma Milletich, and Roberto Schmit and the related essay by Jaime Urrutia demonstrate clearly the sophistication and originality of the research now transforming the economic history of the southern Andes. The authors provide an overview of trade and link their analysis of changing commercial patterns with both silver production and regional political crises. Three strong essays on late colonial Mexico by Carmen Yuste, Antonio Ibarra, and Margarita Menegus provide an opportunity for comparison with the Peruvian case.

The section devoted to internal markets during the early national period suggests the complex nature of the commercial and fiscal changes that occurred after independence. Silvia Palomeque’s analysis of Ecuadorian commerce is a particularly useful contribution, since it provides a very detailed look at commercial linkages. Barbara Corbett’s examination of fiscal policy in San Luis Potosí during the Texas conflict and Roberto Schmit’s analysis of the provisioning of Puebla are also significant contributions to early national economic history.

In the final section, Christine Hunefeldt’s investigation of the indigenous contribution to the southern Andean economy in the nineteenth century is a very welcome addition to a small, but very high quality, field. Students of Argentine labor history will find the essay of Daniel Campi and Marcelo Lagos a useful addition to the employment of state power to manage labor resources. Carlos Marichal’s analysis of Mexican capital markets in the nineteenth century is both rigorously researched and thoughtfully explored.

In summary, this is a very important contribution to Latin American economic history. I strongly recommend that you urge your university library to add this to its collection.