Catalogue


The rise and decline of the Zairian state /
Crawford Young, Thomas Turner.
imprint
Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.
description
xix, 500 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
029910110X :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
personal subject
More Details
added author
imprint
Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.
isbn
029910110X :
general note
Includes index.
Spine title: The rise & decline of the Zairian state.
catalogue key
3205330
 
Bibliography: p. 409-468.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1986-01:
A most useful and worthwhile work documenting the expansion and political decay of the Zairian state. Analyzing the course of state behavior, from the foundations of the Leopoldian colonial system to the development of the Congo state and the subsequent decline of the Zairian experiment, the authors painstakingly describe the course of political decay and devolution during the 25 years of independence. It is a chilling portrait. Disturbing, haunting, and ultimately deeply troubling, the book captures the entwining of social, economic, ethnic, and political forces, to say nothing of the persistent intrusion of exogenous forces, which have led to the present situation. The staggering corruption of the political system is world class by any comparison. Indeed, for Young and Turner, beyond the patrimonial state and personal rule of President Mobutu and his excesses, corruption has become the most distinguishing characteristic of the state. This is a broad, sweeping study of much worth. One can only wish that the authors had focused more extensively on the role the US government played in aiding and abetting the spread of corruption throughout society and its feeble attempts to reduce either Mobutu's appetites or his opportunities. Advanced undergraduates and graduate students.-C.P. Potholm II, Bowdoin College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"One of the finest books on post-independence African politics that has yet appeared, even though the tale it has to tell is, from a humanitarian perspective, resolutely bleak. . . . Young and Turner are to be congratulated on a major contribution to the study of African politics."Africa
"One of the finest books on post-independence African politics that has yet appeared, even though the tale it has to tell is, from a humanitarian perspective, resolutely bleak. . . . Young and Turner are to be congratulated on a major contribution to the study of African politics."-- Africa
"This is it, the one best book on Zaire, combining lucid writing, a comprehensive research basis, and a theoretical underpinning of impressive elegance. If time is limited, read chapters 2, 10, 12 and the conclusions. If money is limited, spend on nothing else except this work; it is the overwhelmingly most useful and complete guide toward understanding contemporary Zaire."School of Area Studies Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State
"This is it, the one best book on Zaire, combining lucid writing, a comprehensive research basis, and a theoretical underpinning of impressive elegance. If time is limited, read chapters 2, 10, 12 and the conclusions. If money is limited, spend on nothing else except this work; it is the overwhelmingly most useful and complete guide toward understanding contemporary Zaire."--School of Area Studies Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 1986
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Summaries
Main Description
Zaire, apparently strong and stable under President Mobutu in the early 1970s, was bankrupt and discredited by the end of that decade, beset by hyperinflation and mass corruption, the populace forced into abject poverty. Why and how, in a new African state strategically located in Central Africa and rich in mineral resources, did this happen? How did the Zairian state become a "parasitic predator" upon its own people? In this broadly researched study, Crawford Young and Thomas Edwin Turner examine the political history of Mobutu's Zaire, looking at critical structures and patterns of societal flux, inequality, and cleavage, in particular the urban-rural nexus, the problematic of class formation, and the fluid patterns of cultural pluralism. The authors begin with a succinct history of the origins of the Zairian state (formerly the Belgian Congo), examining in particular the problems, inherited from its colonial heritage, that led to the first few tumultuous years of independence. They then turn to the critical aspects of transformation of civil society, including the relationships between urban and rural factions, class formation, and the rapidly shifting nature of ethnicity as a sociopolitical factor. They offer a comprehensive overview of the major political trends, tracing the regime through its successive phases of power seizure, consolidation, growing personalization, crisis, and decline. Finally, Young and Turner assess the state's actual performance in several policy areas: economy, international relations, and its package of "Zairianization" and "radicalization" measures. Young and Turner's thorough research, informed analysis, and straightforward style will do much to illuminate the political workings of a major African state long considered an enigma by most Western observers.

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