Sidelights and floodlights on a checkered career-Carleton Beals concentrates on his personal experiences learning to know, at first hand, the tumultuous background of our neighbors to the South. The book plunges abruptly into his first trip to Mexico. What one gets of his earlier life is by bits and snatches. And most of his adult years have been spent in Mexico, with interludes in various parts of South America, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and occasional trips ""home"". In and out of hot water -- under suspicion or sought after -- learning to know people in high and low walks of life, he makes an exciting story of his own life. It is good journalese, but it does not pretend to be a penetrating in-looking autobiography.