The first half of this valuable analysis of Ghanaian politics traces the succession of three civilian and five military governments from the country's independence to the late 1980s, emphasizing the reasons democratization efforts repeatedly failed. The book's second half more systematically considers these reasons, especially the ways in which political instability and economic mismanagement have been mutually reinforcing. The author, a Russian diplomat, combines subtlety with a refreshing bluntness too often missing in Western academic writing. He defends genuine parliamentary democracy as the best form of government for Ghana and, more problematically, argues that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund-imposed structural adjustment efforts have been an unqualified success. Unfortunately, the book is flawed by abysmal copy editing.