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REVIEWS 313 Governmentwas due to extrinsiccauses suchas the Communist'aggression,' Japanese invasion,or Russianoperation,insteadof the internal weakness of Chiang's government andparty.A question remains unanswered: Sincenoone couldreasonably expectthe overthrowof Chiangin i937, how did Chiang declinesorapidlywhile the Communists risewith suchastonishing speed? JEROME CH'EN York University Latin ,4merica:,4 Concise InterpretiveHistory.E. •*om• •URNS.EnglewoodCliffs ,•j, Prentice-Hall,I97•. PP.xvi, •7•, maps,illus. This bookis not, as the dustjacketclaims,a 'comprehensive' surveyof Latin Americanhistoryfrom pre-Columbian civilizations throughi97o. It is not, in other words,another textbook,or a major work of scholarlysynthesis. Inevitably ,in a work of thissizeand scope, somemajor areasare neglected or dismissed in cavalierfashionin the spaceof a few paragraphs. Scarcelyfive pagesare devotedto 'The Indian,' and the entire colonialperiodis reviewed in fiftypages, asa preludeto whatisobviously theauthor's maininterest:the nineteenthand twentieth centuries.What ProfessorBurns has given us is a boldinterpretive essay, froma moderately progressive viewpoint, of themodern historyof Latin America;an academic 'horsd'oeuvre' to whet the appetiteof students in surveycourses. As such,the work is well written, competent,and accurate, andsome instructors mayfindit usefulasa firstassignment for those with no previousknowledge of the area; this is presumably the purposefor which it was intended. AlthoughProfessor Burnsis refreshingly free from someof the traditional prejudicesand preconceptions of North American scholarship about Latin America,he still reproduces somehoaryold myths.Thus the dilemmaof contemporary Latin Americaispresented in termsof a conflict between 'archaism' and 'modernity,'a dichotomy which is increasingly questioned by social scientists to the Southof the Rio Grande; and by extension, he appearsto acceptthe 'dual society' thesis sowell refutedby Stavenhagen and othersthuson page 188 we read that 'Modernismstruggled with traditionalism in what was essentially a contest betweenthe staticcountryside and the more dynamiccities.'Similarly,the contemporary domination of the Latin American countryside by the cities is saidto be 'a complete reversal of historical r61es'a view which many colonialhistorians would dispute.Again, for one who recognizes that the traditional roleof theUnited States in thehemisphere has beenthat of a hegemonic imperialpower,Burnsseems strangely naivewith regardto the motivationof us policy;we read that the us government has alienated Latin Americanreformers by'a series of unfortunate errors,' and that 'Insteadof servingas the democratic mentorof the hemisphere, the us has become the dreadedpoliceman ...' A lesscharitableauthormightsuggest that the consistent failure of the 'democraticmentor' was due to somethingmore profound than'a series ofunfortunate errors.' Despitea numberof questionable judgments suchas these,the work is a 314 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW usefulintroduction for newcomers to thefield.The sketch of colonial governmeritand economy, thoughfar toobrief,isconfident and accurate,and Burns givesgoodattentionto Brazil (hisownarea,andonethat isoftenneglected in surveys). The nineteenth century-alsoinadequately covered in manyworksiswell treated.Asan interpretiveessay, the bookshouldbe of somevalue,and theauthor's boldhandlingof controversial issues will serve to stimulate students. D.L. RABY University of Toronto Landlord and Peasant in Colonial Oaxaca. w•.•.• B. TAYLOR. Stanford, Stanford University Press, •972.Pp.xvi,287,illus.$io.oo. This work,originallyproduced asa doctoraldissertation, is a carefulstudy of land tenureand Spanish-Indian relations in Oaxacaduringthe entirecolonial period.Basedlargelyon archivalmaterials, it is a highlyusefulcontribution to the studyof colonialLatin Americanhistoryand will havea major impact on the field. By examiningclosely land ownership and usagein the limited area of the Valleyof Oaxacafrom thesixteenth century throughto thenineteenth, Taylor demonstrates that there, unlike northern Mexico, large haciendasdid not becomethe dominantsystem of land holding.Indian caciques and pueblos wereableto maintaina tenacious holdovermuchof thevalley's lands- particularlythe mostfertile ones-throughoutcolonialtimes.In mostcases Indians provedwellableto defendthemselves by recourse to thecourts or byphysical force.They werealsoquiteadeptat usingbothagainst members of theirown race.On the otherhand,exceptfor mayorazgos and thosechurchlandswhich wereentailed,Spanish ownership in thevalleytendedto be tenuous andoften concentrated in less fertile areas. Haciendas suffered from serious labour shortagesas debt peonage wasquite unsatisfactory. It did not become hereditary until afterindependence, wascircumscribed by colonial legislation, andIndians frequently ran awayfromhacendados to whomtheywerein debt.Therewas therefore muchturn-overin the ownership of Spanish lands.Thus,in spiteof the fact that the churchincreasingly becamea major land owner,by independence Indiansstillretainedthelargest portionof thevalley's lands. The major contribution of Taylor'sstudyis,of course, that it demonstrates that Francois Chevalier's description of thegreathaciendas of northernMexico canno longerbeusedcarelessly asa modelfor land tenurethroughout colonial Spanish Americaand New Spainin particular.Taylor has alsoproventhe needfor furthercarefulareastudies of the typethat he hasproduced; only throughsuchwill weultimatelybe...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 313-314
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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