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Volume 50 / Humanities


19th and 20th Centuries: Bolivia and Chile

WILLIAM F. SATER, Professor of History, California State University, Long Beach

RECENT EVENTS DOMINATE the scholarship on Bolivian history. The best studies are those of Antezana (item bi 89006853), Gallegos (item bi 89006856), and Lora (item bi 89006895), who analyze the 1943 Revolution as well as the Villarroel and Peñaranda regimes. Alba's (item bi 89006900) and Rivera's (item bi 89006893) works, which examine the more recent Katarista movement, merit consideration as well.

Historians will benefit greatly from Mitre's article (item bi 89006861) and Platt's book (item bi 89006894) on the impact of La Paz's monetary policies on the nation's rural sectors. Ovando Sanz's article on the effect of taxation on Indian communities (item bi 89006896) demonstrates how this impost helped create Bolivia's unequal land tenure system, while Gill's essay (item bi 89006857) concludes that the MNR's agrarian reform program did not impact uniformly on the countryside. Among recent memoirs, two appear valuable: Alvarez's recollections (item bi 89006899) describe the role of a labor union leader in Bolivia, while Prado's writing offers some insights into the role of the military.

Chilean historiography, on the other hand, has suffered in recent years. Nueva Historia, which was published in England, appears to have disappeared and will be missed since it contained a variety of excellent articles. Fortunately, a new journal, Opciones, has appeared. While not devoted exclusively to history, some of its most recent issues have contained valuable studies.

Predictably, the Allende regime remains perhaps the preeminent research topic for Chileanists. Scholars analyze its rise to power, its policies, and its demise with the same intensity with which they once studied the Balmaceda period. Although many of these efforts lack objectivity, alternating between praising or damning either Allende or Pinochet, there are some valuable ones as well. The articles by Angell (item bi 89006989) and Gazmuri (item bi 89006977) on the political background of the Unidad Popular and Veliz's provocative analysis (item bi 89006941) greatly enhance our understanding of this crucial period.

Labor history has attracted a great deal of historical interest. Zapata's article (item bi 89006935) discusses the government's response to labor militancy, while two French scholars, Valyssiere (item bi 89006937) and Fraysse (item bi 89006979) examine the impact of Socialist and Anarchist thought on the labor movement. Perhaps the most significant work is that of Salazar (item bi 89006950), whose excellent in-depth study provides an insight into lower classes' working conditions and lives.

Some of the material dealing with specialized topics also merits attention. Urban historians will find the Ramos article (item bi 89006966) on the development of Santiago very valuable. Meneses' study of late 19th-century Chilean relations with Argentina (item bi 89006969) provides diplomatic historians new and valuable insights. Couyoumdjian's well-researched volume on Britain's economic and diplomatic ties with Chile constitutes a major effort particularly worthy of special mention (item bi 90000295). The multivolume collection of Luis Emilio Recabarren's editorials permits historians to trace the evolution of the ideas of this important political figure (item bi 89006991). Those interested in institutional history should consult Araneda's study of the Roman Catholic Church (item bi 89006988), the latest volume in the ongoing in-depth analysis of the army, (item bi 89006948) and Valencia's updated two-volume biographical study of the Congress (item bi 89006938). The reissue of Góngora's epic essay (item bi 89006976), which includes a complete bibliography of his other works and some accompanying studies of his various contributions, enhances our knowledge of Chilean historiography. This volume and Góngora's essay on the economic role of the State (item bi 89006975) demonstrate how much his death will adversely affect Chilean scholarship.

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