In This Review

Africa in World Politics: Reforming Political Order
Africa in World Politics: Reforming Political Order
Edited by John W. Harbeson and Donald Rothchild
Westview Press, 2008, 408 pp

This collection of essays by many of the leading Africanists working in the United States today provides a compelling introduction to African politics and international relations. Although the essays are consistently interesting, the volume lacks a single unifying theme, except perhaps a common skepticism about the sustainability of the continent's recent economic and political success. Crawford Young starts the book off with an elegant account of the colonial legacy in the region. Other chapters of note include the late Rothchild's characteristically nuanced analysis of U.S. foreign policy toward the region, which presents the paradox that modest U.S. activities are more likely to advance U.S. objectives than more ambitious and high-profile actions. Denis Tull provides an informative chapter on China's recent engagement with the continent, and Gilbert Khadiagala provides a sharp account of the "midlife crisis" occurring in African economic relations with Europe, in which the EU uses its "partnership" with Africa to make up for the absence of more substantial multilateral trade concessions.