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War and Conflict in Africa Paperback – October 10, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0745645452 ISBN-10: 0745645453 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (October 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745645453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745645452
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Williams has written a superb overview of this complex subject without resorting to academic jargon. It deserves to be read by novices and specialists alike."
Foreign Affairs

"A critical contribution to the literature ... Williams synthesizes an enormous amount of research on the dynamics and processes of conflicts ... [It] is a critical text for scholars of conflict and peace, as well as policymakers who seek to devise more effective strategies for managing Africa's wars."
H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews

"An ambitious and impressive book. ... While primarily an analytical study, the work necessarily rests on a detailed knowledge of cases and on a statistical base that is itself a considerable feat of documentation."
Population and Development Review

"A trenchant resource for international development specialists and students alike."
Journal of International Development

"Exceptionally succinct and useful, War & Conflict in Africa (provides) an accessible and inspirational companion for anyone who wants to survey the state of the field."
Journal of Peace Research

"A foundational framework for undergraduate students. Williams' greatest triumph is his lucid approach to debunking a great deal of the received opinions ... One of the most nuanced books on the subject to have been written in the past decade or so."
International Peacekeeping

"A must-read for anyone with an interest in modern Africa. Its thematic chapters make it easy for development workers and other non-academic practitioners to dip in and out of. Yet its undoubted intellectual rigour and judicious use of existing studies and analyses ensure its utility to scholars and students of Africa whatever their disciplinary hue."
International Affairs

"Paul Williams has done what he set out to do exceptionally well. Admirably researched and eloquent [it] will deservedly be read by students, fellow scholars, and - yes - those policymakers who wish to end Africa's bloody present, and who seek swift but stimulating summaries of the key themes and processes."
H-Net Reviews

"Williams' analysis and critique, written with substantial clarity, is a valuable contribution to the debate over African peace and security, with insights that may prove of benefit for the examination of armed conflicts beyond the African region."
Australian Journal of International Affairs

"Well written and thoroughly researched, War and Conflict in Africa provides a comprehensive assessment of attempts to explain the proliferation of conflict in post-Cold War Africa ... the book provides a useful overview for scholars and naturally lends itself as an academic course-text."
Journal of Military History

"A valuable reference for students, policy makers, civil society actors and those determined to promote peace and security in Africa."
Political Studies Review

"War and Conflict in Africa contributes to a more complex understanding of the political actors and systems that catalyze or prevent conflict and offers a cautionary tale to those who seek only proven, easy predictions."
New Security Beat

"Williams has produced the foundational framework for understanding the mainsprings of armed conflict in Africa over the past twenty years. This book is a must-read for those who want a nuanced understanding of the causes and processes of conflict on the African continent. Williams's analysis is brilliant and enhances the book's value for students, governments, NGOs - anyone working to promote peace and security in Africa."
William Reno, Northwestern University

"Encyclopaedic in scope and cogent in analysis, War and Conflict in Africa debunks a great deal of received opinion and offers not only a sophisticated view of how African conflicts come about but also a critical appraisal of attempts to resolve them. It should be required reading for scholars as well as for all those who seek to mediate in conflicts both in Africa and elsewhere."
Christopher Clapham, University of Cambridge

"This incisive study will be an invaluable resource for students and policymakers seeking to understand and ameliorate Africa's complex and destructive conflicts."
David Keen, London School of Economics and Political Science

About the Author

Paul D. Williams is associate professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Paul Williams gets it. Many researches and journalists bite of more than they can chew, analyzing the vast African continent. Their conclusions tend to remark how "inexplicable", "exotic" and irrational African conflicts are. We all know Africa is not a country. Williams takes the next step and not only breaks down the geographic regions but then explores the libraries of past research claiming the roots of African conflict to be either political, economic, ethnic, religious or post-colonial affiliated. As it turns out there is no "one" explanation.

Those who research Africa, especially its violent contexts, truly need to stay away from generalized explanations. While Williams still uses the geographic term, "Africa", he admits to the immense diversity of such a project. "War and Conflict in Africa" is split into three sections: context, ingredients and responses (as Williams calls them). The first section dives right in to the vast literature on African conflicts, describing everything from the colonial history to international relations theory as it relates to the continent. Williams then calls the colonial aftermath, ethnicity, greed, religion, politics, land rites etc. the "ingredients" to conflict. Some ingredients promote conflict but very few of them are the roots of conflict.

Williams carefully selects different conflicts and reviews the literature and theories related to each including: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Algeria, Somalia, Rwanda, the DRC and a host of others. This book is not simply a review of the theories, however. Williams comes to his own conclusion that rational politicians eager to preserve or obtain power can be considered a root of most of Africa's conflicts.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Bailey on September 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
A good book that gives you the history of conflicts that is happening in Africa. Book is divided in chapters and each chapter covers a current conflict. The book is a little dated so some of these conflicts have ended or are in the process of ending. Overall it describes who and how the conflicts started and gives a good conclusion as to what will happen.
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