Although Bolivia was ""founded"" in 1825, its long history previous to that time included an established Andean culture, the pre-Columbian empire of the Incas, and the invasion of Spanish conquistadores. Readers who link Bolivia primarily to the current drag trade will be awakened to the country's importance as an exporter of silver and tin and to its varied regions and climates, as well as to its racial diversity. The most telling section here, ""Coping,"" reveals the problems of high-altitude living, crime in the streets of a poor country, cures that combine modern medicine with folk remedies, and the importance of family support in Bolivian society. There is much to be gleaned here, but this entry in the ""Portraits of the Nations"" series lacks the flights of passionate discourse that have made some of the others so compelling. Although the book is competently organized and presented, the text occasionally drags, while mazelike graphs obscure rather than map out information. Photos; maps; graphs; bibliography; index.