DESPITE the tremendous boom in the exportation of official and unofficial good-will ambassadors to that part of the world, it can scarcely be said that the countries of Latin America have been made familiar, or even comprehensible, to the average educated citizen of the United States. Europe and the Far East are better known and better understood. Professor Herring’s book should do much to promote the sound understanding that is the first condition of any intelligent Pan-American policy. Unlike some writers on Latin America, he is extremely well acquainted with the countries he describes. His knowledge is of the up-to-date variety, refreshed by frequent and recent visits, and his work is crammed with interesting information about the history, politics, habits, and social and economic conditions of the countries to the south of us, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico being singled out for especially extensive treatment.
One finds an excellent close-up, unmarred by soft-pedaling, of Getulio Vargas, the leader of the Brazilians, ‘the most exuberant, impractical, amiable, and exasperating of all the sons of Iberia.’ There is a clear exposition of the issues that have created discord between the United States and Argentina, and the ascertainable facts about Axis and Japanese settlement and penetration in Latin America are well set forth. Without being an unreasonable alarmist, the author properly emphasizes the inability of the Latin Americans to defend themselves against modernized armies. The research that has gone into the making of this book is masked behind a jaunty, sometimes colloquial style.
W. H. C.