In the company of William Buckley, who was sent to Chile in the spring of 1971 by the USIA, Home, a British historian and...

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SMALL EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE: Allende's South America

In the company of William Buckley, who was sent to Chile in the spring of 1971 by the USIA, Home, a British historian and journalist, gathered broad impressions of the region and its politics. The tone is rather Buckleyesque but Home's analysis extends beyond his companion's quips and reports on official receptions and the ""leading families."" He admires Neruda's poetry, romanticizes the Mapuche Indians, and expresses concern about the gap between the haves and have-nots; Allende's constitutional stance and development efforts are applauded though Home thinks Chilean capitalists are being unfairly punished. As for the left, the ""young firebrands of the MIR"" are creating perhaps irreparable mischief. Che is ""one of the greatest flops of modern times,"" the 60,000 ""well-disciplined"" members of the Chilean Communist Party practice ""unscrupulous Marxist methods,"" and the Allende-Kerensky analogy becomes a recurring theme. Home empathizes with the hysteria of the ""leading lawyers"" who have begun to flee Chile or bury their valuables, and because of his conservative credentials, he is able to penetrate the extreme right -- for instance the terrorist ""Mano Negro"" group in Colombia. Home concludes that Chile will remain the ""seismic epicenter"" of Latin America and that a further leftward drift is inevitable. He rhapsodizes over the ""hopelessness, courage, the passion for color at any price, the lovable irrationalism of the South Americans, the poverty and the gaiety"" -- forgetting only their marvelous sense of rhythm. But despite his streak of romantic silliness, Home provides a creditable appraisal from the conservative point of view, certainly more penetrating than anything we might expect from Buckley.

Pub Date: March 5, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1973