An embodiment of the Creole aristocracy of his native Colombia, German Arciniegas again turns his tradition-bound vision to the cultural outcroppings that are part of the patrimony of the heirs to the mixed blessings of the Spanish American civilization. A professor at Columbia, Arciniegas has spent his years close to the Colombian governmental process as columnist for El Tiempo, Liberal party leader, Minister of Education, and Ambassador to Italy. For all of this man-in-society, his new cultural history of Latin America is more the work of a mystic than a shirt-sleeved archivist. With his phrases redolent with the scent of Gongorism, and a natural affinity for the Plateresque rather than Fidel Castro, Professor Arciniegas proceeds to compose a massive book that touches all the arts and much of everything else. The book will prove a joy to the increasing ranks of Americans who are discovering that there is something else to Latin American than opera bouffe. The publication of a new work by German Arciniegas has to be considered an event of the highest moment in the era of Latin American studies; this work will corroborate his reputation.