This impressive study surveys Zanre's progress toward patriarchal absolutism through both ends of the telescope: from the distance of a comparison with the 17th- and 18th-century French monarchy as well as through a close scrutiny of local bureaucratic pulling and hauling in the mid-1970s. As Callaghy tells it, the Zanrean state's development under Mobutu more closely resembles that of pre-modern Europe than of Third World analogues in our time (even in Latin America, where significant parallels do exist). In his examination of events in three local areas, he shows how central government operatives fight (often to a draw) with "traditional" authorities. The goal is, as in pre-modern Europe-control over extraction of wealth from the populace.
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