Gilio, a journalist disposed toward the Tupamaro urban guerrilla movement in Uruguay, takes the best possible course to convey her sympathy -- via emphasis on the decayed and repressive conditions in what used to be a Latin showcase of democratic welfare-state tranquility. She surveys the plight of the old and sick, of correctional institutions and hospitals, of an economy which increasingly forces emigration to Argentina. There is a vivid sketch of a meatworkers' strike which drew great public support, and interviews with savvy working-class kids as well as ""new left"" priests. One of the most singular things about the Tupamaros is the high degree of passive backing they elicit among Uruguayans and, though Gilio might exaggerate, she gives a convincing impression of honesty. The guerrillas' exploits -- jail escapes, kidnappings, sequestering a town for a matter of moments -- are rendered partly through interviews with the Tupamaros themselves. This is not the place to look for an analytical appraisal of their political strategy or their future prospects, but neither is it merely a romantic sketch. Rather, it is vigorous documentation of the general ferment which has produced the guerrilla manifestation.