Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's southernmost state, has long had the reputation of being the nation's wild West. Another of its longstanding claims is that it is more Spanish than Portuguese in its traditions, history and loyalties. The purpose of this monograph is to refute the thesis that Rio Grande isn't characteristically Brazilian. Either because of the translation, or more directly attributable to the author, the study has none of the historical elegance of a Gilberto Freyre, but Vellinho establishes his case almost beyond contention that Rio Grande's gauchos fought battle after battle against the Spanish of La Plata to remain within the Empire. The book also contains some sturdy sections that tell of the epic treks of the bandeirantes into the heartland in search of Indians and precious metals, and of the life on the immense cattle spreads that extended in all directions. However, it is primarily for Americans specializing in Brazilian history.