Naval War College Review


Richard Norton


In some ways, publishing a book that purports to capture contemporary African political trends, particularly involving the “progress of democracy,” faces the same basic problem as do books attempting to explain state-of- the-art computers. Both information streams are now flowing so quickly that the truth you write about today may be very different from that of tomorrow. In fact, the African scholar has even harder going than his information-systems contemporary, because unlike computer technology, the course of democracy in Africa frequently changes direction and from time to time even reverses itself. The editors of Democratization in Africa: Progress and Retreat are, as the title indi- cates, well aware of this challenge. This is not surprising. This volume is part of the International Forum for Demo- cratic Studies’ Journal of Democracy book series, and both Diamond and Plattner have edited numerous volumes.