This is a wide-reaching attempt to portray the world of 300 million Spanish-speaking peoples from the Middle Ages to the present. Following surveys on medieval Spanish history, the empire, the emergence of Latin America, and the Hispanic United States, the primarily textual essays by Hispanic and English authors cover art, family and society, literature, and religion. A final section devotes a few pages to the distinct cultures of Spain itself today. Though a solid achievement, and containing more text than books from Facts on File's ``Cultural Atlas'' series, this work compares poorly to that series (which, however, has no one comparable title). The text is less inviting and the illustrations less than good, particularly the color. Difficult to recommend, but without any alternative.-- Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Libs.