The Loss of El Dorado

by V. S. Naipaul. Knopf, $7.50. Perhaps because he is an Indian of India, Mr. Naipaul maintains equanimity and even humor while examining the outrages worked in Trinidad by Spanish mad for gold, English mad for trade, and French mad for slaves. He is exceptionally adroit at reconstructing living and frequently peculiar people from old documents, and the research behind his gracefully readable text is formidable.