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A Haitian by birth, Fatton (government and foreign affairs, Univ. of Virginia) has written a somewhat pessimistic analysis of politics in Haiti from 1986 to the end of 2001. He sees this period as starting on a positive note with the promise that democracy would succeed and then goes on to examine the numerous changes of government from the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986 to Jean-Bertrand Aristide's second inauguration as president in December 2001. The author suggests that Haiti's experience shows that for democracy to succeed in any country, there needs to be a balance of power between two competing classes, the bourgeoisie and the workers. The absence of strong political organizations from both classes in Haiti has led to a power vacuum and the consequent failure of democratic institutions. The result is what Fatton calls "predatory democracy," which has the trappings of democracy but functions more like authoritarianism or polyarchy. This book will be of interest to libraries with collections on the Caribbean and general political theory.
Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, UT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Robert Fatton Jr. is professor in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. His numerous publications include Predatory Rule: State and Civil Society in Africa and The Making of a Liberal Democracy: Senegal's Passive Revolution.