After describing geography and resources, Fox delineates Argentina's history from the 16th-century arrival of the Spaniards, which had devastating consequences for the indigenous population, to political and social history through the 1980's, concluding with sections on the current economic situation, the Falklands War, and the arts. This is one of the weaker entries in the ""Portraits of the Nations"" series. Fox has a tendency to mention people or events with little or no explanation; his attempts to explain such subjects as hyperinflation, or to compare Argentine geography to an elephant's head, are more perplexing than elucidating. Many of the topics in the arts section will be beyond readers below high-school age. Still, this is a needed update that discusses such recent developments as the shaky establishment of a democratic government. The bibliography includes several entries available only in Spanish, as well as some too esoteric for most high-school students. Illus. and index not seen.