$3.50 By Emil Ludwig ALLIANCE
EL LIBERTADOR, the hero of the South American revolt against Spain, furnishes a colorful subject for the facile and versatile talent of Emil Ludwig. Bolivar, pampered offspring of a wealthy Venezuelan family, was transformed by the sweep of historical events into the romantic military and political leader of a sanguinary and complex struggle (one man out of every three in Venezuela perished before it was over). He scaled the heights of victory; he tasted the bitterness of disillusionment and died in poverty and exile, victim of the mercurial ingratitude of the people for whom he had sacrificed health and fortune. One of his last remarks, and one that other revolutionaries, notably in France and in Russia, might echo, is that to serve a revolution is to plough the sea. Bolivar, tempestuous, temperamental, grandiloquent in speech and writing, was just as authentically Spanish-American as Washington was AngloAmerican. Mr. Ludwig, who was invited to undertake this work by the Academia di Historia of Venezuela achieves a convincing character portrait, drawing heavily on a collection of Bolivar’s letters which was placed at his disposal. The last section of the book bears the title ’Don Quixote’; and Bolivar’s gallant effort to plant the tree of liberty in soil where the Spanish and Indian background was not very favorable to its growth was indeed a quixotic enterprise — an enterprise, however, which bore solid historical fruit. W. H. C.