When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 18, 2008 - Political Science - 218 pages
4 Reviews
In the later decades of the 20th century, Africa plunged into political chaos. States failed, governments became predators, and citizens took up arms. In When Things Fell Apart, Robert H. Bates advances an explanation of state failure in Africa. In so doing, he not only plumbs the depths of the continent's late-century tragedy, but also the logic of political order and the foundations of the state. This book covers a wide range of territory by drawing on materials from Rwanda, Sudan, Liberia, and Congo. Written to be accessible to the general reader, it is nonetheless a must-read for scholars and policy makers concerned with political conflict and state failure.

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Review: When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa

User Review  - Dylan Groves - Goodreads

exceedingly clear. three takeaways: 1 - the core explanation of deteriorating public order in 1990's africa concerns the choice of political elites to protect wealth creation or predate, based on the ... Read full review

Review: When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa

User Review  - Derrill Watson - Goodreads

I'm using this in my public choice class. The first two chapters set up the main principals and the others provide some reasonably supportive evidence. That later narrative jumps around a good deal, so it's hard to know where reality diverges from his theory. Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Robert H. Bates is Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the political economy of development, particularly in Africa, and on violence and state failure. Professor Bates has conducted field work in Zambia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Colombia, and Brazil. He currently serves as a researcher and resource person with the Africa Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi, and as a member of the Political Instability Task Force of the United States government. Among his most recent books are Analytic Narratives with Avner Greif, Margaret Levi, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, and Barry Weingast (1998); When Things Fell Apart (Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Prosperity and Violence (2009).

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