Guatemala is one of the least studied and most volatile nations in Central America. Fauriol and Loser chronicle Guatemala's modern political development as a prelude to an analysis of the nation's current environment. This is not a conventional history, but a social, political, and economic cross-section based on the latest secondary information and research available, supplemented by a firsthand set of observations.The authors proceed from three major premises: (1) the armed forces, far from being the cause of instability, have provided the only real models of governance; (2) far from suffering from a banana republic inferiority complex, the culture has a rich nationalist heritage, bordering on outright chauvinism; and (3) the political experiences of the nation have been adjudicated in the main by the armed forces.The authors note that Guatemala's break with its authoritarian past started in 1985. How this transfer of power has occurred, who the new rulers are, and what new political civilian forces have been set in motion, become the fulcrum for this study. The political experience of Guatemala is taken seriously and reviewed in detail. The role of foreign power is neither ignored nor minimized, but essentially this is a study of national elites.The volume covers areas ranging from human rights abuses by past administrations to current problems forced on the regime by a never-ending battle against terrorism and insurgency. It concludes with a fine bibliographical essay and an excellent set of reference tools for the specialist. In short, whether a person seeks a quick overview, or the scholar aims for precise data and theory, this is the state of the art book on Guatemala for the late 1980s going into the electoral period of the early 1990s.