The Wars of Independence in Spanish America, edited by Christon I. Archer, Jaguar Books (Scholarly Resources, Inc.), Wilmington, Del., 2000, paperback, $18.95.

Author and professor Christon I. Archer states in the preface of his latest work that “many historians today, Spanish Americans and foreigners, have begun to strip away older views and to produce new and compelling interpretations about the nature of the insurgencies, counterinsurgencies, rebellions, guerrilla movements, civil wars, revolutions, riots, banditry, and other forms of disorder that helped to engender the new nations.” The new nations he speaks of are the Spanish-American colonies formed in the early 19th century.

Thematically composed in a series of wide-ranging essays, The Wars of Independence in Spanish America identifies interesting parallels between the conflicts surrounding Spain’s loss of her American empire and the 20th-century struggles seen in Russia, China, Algeria, the Philippines, Cuba, Africa and Southeast Asia.

While it is clear that one man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist and bandit, Archer cuts through such ambiguities by compiling the works of contemporary accounts and scholarship to offer a solid perspective on the Wars of Independence.

Dominic J. Caraccilo