Nicolas van de Walle

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

In her sunny tour of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, Olopade does not deny the existence of the region’s ills so much as selectively focus on the positive contributions of individuals and grass-roots civic organizations. 

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Cooper uses his considerable knowledge of the historical record to comment on the role of institutions in economic development and the extent to which Africa’s progress has been impeded by its international relations. 

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Many hoped that a vibrant and well-educated expatriate population would return to Eritrea and spearhead its development. Instead, the country has remained one of the poorest in the world.

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Riedl argues that the main factor in determining the strength of parties in any given African country is the extent to which the authoritarian regime that dominated politics prior to a democratic transition was able to influence the terms of democratization. 

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Sub-Saharan Africa boasts the fastest-growing urban population of any region in the world. Indeed, the authors of this collection estimate that if the region maintains its present rate of growth, a majority of Africans will live in cities by 2030. 

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

A major critical and popular success in Belgium, this sweeping history of Congo begins during the precolonial era and brings readers all the way up to the current era of warlords and civil war.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Both of these books refute simplistic conventional portraits of the relationship between Africa and the rest of the word, which tend to suggest that the region was exposed to outside influences only as a result of European colonialism.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

These two books reflect the emerging conventional wisdom within the international community that aid donors have overemphasized the importance of improving governance in the poor countries of Africa.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Academics no longer need lament the absence of a good textbook on African politics for undergraduates. Englebert and Dunn have produced what will no doubt become the standard text for years to come.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Schmidt’s history of military intervention in the region during the last half century breaks no new empirical or theoretical ground, but it does provide a good introduction to the Africa policies of outside powers.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Two very different books, both fascinating, attest to the socioeconomic and political progress Ethiopia has made during the last two decades -- and to the enormous challenges it still faces.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

This measured book summarizes the extent of what is known about the recent evolution of the commercial market for land in sub-Saharan Africa -- which is to say, very little.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

This breezy, upbeat appraisal of the merits of Africa’s private sector and its boundless potential to spearhead growth would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Many assume that ethnic identity plays the main role in holding African political parties together. Yet as Elischer shows in this careful analysis of ten African countries, the picture is more complicated.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Two new books consider the lack of economic integration and political cooperation among the 54 states of Africa -- an ironic state of affairs, perhaps, given the large number of intergovernmental organizations that exist on the continent.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Nicolas van de Walle

Anderson, a former Pentecostal minister, argues that Pentecostalism in Africa must be understood more as an indigenous religion than as a Western one.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

This IMF report on the oil-rich economies of central Africa contains few novel insights, but it does shed some light on the fiscal affairs of some of the most corrupt states in the world.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

These three new books offer keen insights into the political and civil strife that have wracked Congo for decades and that the country seems far from resolving.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

Although Adebanwi’s book ranges broadly across recent Nigerian history, its central purpose is to assess postcolonial Nigeria’s most serious campaign to eradicate large-scale corruption.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

Fergusson vividly recounts the grotesque horrors of the endless war in Somalia; Hansen focuses more narrowly on the al Shabab organization.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

This exceptional collection of essays examines why roughly a fifth of the elections in sub-Saharan Africa since 1990 have led to violence.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

The contributors to this volume use the prism of "prebendalism" to look at the permanent struggle in Nigeria over access to public resources.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

This book examines the relationship between the failure of African states to provide social services to the majority of their populations and the increase in social inequality, ethnic tension, and political violence in the region.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

As a young college graduate, Sandgren taught in a rural Kenyan school for boys from 1963 to 1967 before returning to the United States for graduate school and a career in academia. Sandgren returned to Kenya in 1995 and interviewed 75 of the 90 or so students he had taught three decades earlier. This book is the fascinating result.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
Nicolas van de Walle

In this political history of Africa since the 1950s, Young reviews the political science literature on such important issues as the legacy of colonialism, the reasons why African states turned autocratic soon after independence, and the best ways to assess their performance since then. Unlike similar books, Young’s considers the areas north and south of the Sahara, focusing on the political and diplomatic links between the two, as well as their common history.