Social scientists who have done field research anywhere in Latin America will find this a challenging and rewarding book. On the simplest level, this is a study of public administration. . . . To understand and evaluate the policy decisions of this large government bureaucracy, however, one must understand the context of Colombian history, geography, society, and culture. . . . Hartwig interweaves the strands of historical description, public administration analysis, and general social science theory during three different time periods. . . . The careful reader can learn a great deal from this very well researched and thoughtfully written volume.
Hartwig views the Columbian Ministry of Public Works, applying a theoretical model of rationality and responsibility to view how policy failures were caused by faulty definitions of problems and mistaken approaches in building Andean Highways from 1922-1974. This book will interest those involved in policy administration, organization theory, and policy planning in both developed and developing countries.
"Roads to Reason began as a study of the Ministry of Public Works in Colombia and the formulation of transportation policy in that country. But the real intellectual thrust of the book lies in the general theoretical discussion of organizational rationality. . . . I found the book both useful and provocative. And if it helps to shift the narrowly economistic focus of so much English-language writing, it will have been well worth the writing."