Those who remember Roeder's The Man of the Renaissance and his Catherine de Medici and the Lost Revolution will welcome- after too long a gap- this brilliant biography of an outstanding liberal. As with his earlier work, Roeder conveys a sense of the times almost more intimately than he does the personality of Benito Juarez himself. A full and lively picture of the beginnings of revolution -- the strike for independence the parts played by Hidalgo, Morelos and Guerrero -- form the scene upon which Juares entered. Passing comment on the little known details of his childhood, schooling and development, for he took small part in politics until he was exiled by Santa Anna. But the reader- through these chapters- finds himself well grounded in the intricate mase of governments, revolutionaries, pretenders, plots and counterplots that comprise Maxi's troubled history. Juarez, Indian and man of the people, was a generation ahead of himself in his policy of reform, and the constitution he enacted, during his terms as President, has been virtually the springboard for Mexico's forward strides since iron hand of Diaz, successor to Juarez, was lifted. In agrarian reforms, in attitudes, towards labor, in many other ways, Juarez was a modern in an ancient world. One gets successive steps, forward and back, in the painful advance towards independence -- and through it comes the finely drawn portrait of a staunch patriot, a progressive, a vigorous personality. History and biography -- an important facet of Mexico's story. R is a profound scholar. At times, the reader bogs down in his careful and meticulous weighing of evidence- use of sources. This is not a book for hasty skimming, but a book for careful and thoughtful study.