In This Review

Warfare in Independent Africa (New Approaches to African History)
Warfare in Independent Africa (New Approaches to African History)
By William Reno
Cambridge University Press, 2011, 294 pp.

This accessible survey of African wars in the postcolonial era rightly emphasizes internal conflicts, which have caused more violence in the region than interstate wars. Reno tracks the changing motivations of domestic rebellions, from anticolonial movements to reformist rebels who sought to build stronger state structures after independence, to contemporary warlords, such as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, who fight over resources but lack a programmatic agenda. Reno ends the book with a somewhat underdeveloped argument, suggesting that the kind of reformist rebellions led by Yoweri Museveni in Uganda and Paul Kagame in Rwanda are less likely today because of the declining influence of Marxist ideas and the increasing weakness of state structures. The next generation of rebels, he argues, are more likely to be motivated by narrower, more instrumental objectives and will be less keen to establish political order.