Agreeing completely with J. J. Johnson, whom he quotes as stating that ""the most important single phenomenon in Latin America is the rapid growth of nationalism,"" this author has traced that phenomenon here in all its various and occasionally contradictory, aspects throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Not all countries Come in for detailed analysis; rather, he has taken the course of presenting several exemplars, notably Mexico, Brazil. Chile, Argentina, and Cuba. The book's most outstanding quality is probably its striving for an historical impartiality, and its basic if restrained optimistic tone sets it apart from nearly all the recent volumes on the general subject. For example, Mr. Masur is quite certain that the future of South and Central America will neither be ""under the umbrella of neutrality"" nor within the communist bloc. While he realizes that nationalism could easily become the vehicle for a return to more extensive caudillo rule, he nevertheless holds it to be, by and large, constructive and positive""; its immediate goals, he concludes, ""may be political and economic, but its expectations are human, and therein lies its value.