An alarmed study of the pattern of Communist activity in Guatemala comes as a timely book after the recent revolution. A former editor of The New Leader and a news and magazine feature writer, Mr. James has travelled widely in Central and South America and is convinced that the continent and its outlying areas have become a fertile breeding ground for Communism. Citing examples preparatory to the study of the Guatemalan situation, he points to the flare-ups in Brazil, Bolivia and Chile where much of the antagonism has taken the form of ""anti-Yankee-imperialism"". Turning then to Guatemala- by far the bulk of the book- he presents its history from the point when Red influences were first noticeable, from the time prior to the revolution a decade ago that saw the rise and fall of new leaders- Arana, Ubico, Arevalo, Fortuny. Broadening to a widely stratified political analysis of more recent trends, he traces particularly the ways in which Communism tends to be born of a corrupt kind of nationalism. Arbenz, he contends, became president by hoax in 1951 and among other things wanted to get even with the ""upper crust"" because they did not accept his wife. There are the ways in which the Communist party itself works-through labor, a Mao-like agrarian reform- ironically enough to displace Guatemala's own capitalism rather than the United Fruit Co. Detailed and documented, this may convince politically but it lacks the human insight that might have made it a more forceful plea, and hope, now, for better relations.