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The stable minority : civilian rule in Africa, 1960-1990 /
Samuel Decalo.
Gainesville : FAP Books, c1998.
344 p. : maps ; 23 cm.
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Gainesville : FAP Books, c1998.
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 309-327) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-06:
It is surprising that no one thought to write this book before Decalo (Univ. of Florida) did. Virtually all earlier books and articles about the military in Africa were either case studies of particular military regimes or interventions or attempts to explain their occurrence, incidence, or spread. Decalo is to be congratulated for finally offering the missing hypothesis: that one of the best ways of accounting for military intervention in Africa is to examine those countries in which it did not occur. His analysis--striking in its simplicity and force--is that in these countries it was not structural elements in their systems that foreclosed or discouraged military intervention, but aspects of their civil-military politics, including, notably, a variety of measures and policies that kept their militaries subordinated to civilian authority. Decalo, a senior Africanist whose excellent work on military politics (Coups and Army Rule in Africa, 1976; 2nd ed., 1990) is a standard reference on the subject, lays out his argument in his opening chapter, then offers three case studies as evidence (Malawi, Gabon, and Kenya). He ends by considering what has become a major possible path for nonmilitary regimes: democratization. This fine book--ably researched, cogently argued, and eminently credible--deserves to become the indispensable companion to all those other books on the African military. Highly recommended for all audiences, lay or scholarly. V. T. Le Vine; Washington University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1998
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