Lyons’s political history of post–Haile Selassie Ethiopia is timely, as the new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed (who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019), tries to sustain a beleaguered program of political liberalization. Beginning in the late 1970s, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front carried out a disciplined and highly centralized insurgency that toppled the Soviet-backed dictatorship in 1991. Once in power, the TPLF leader Meles Zenawi built a broader, more inclusive party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which recognized and sought to incorporate all the ethnic groups in the country, creating a decentralized ethnic federation. Meles led Ethiopia for more than two decades: first as president, from 1991 until 1995, and then as prime minister, until his death in 2012. Lyons does a great job of analyzing how Meles ably managed the fissiparous tendencies of the EPRDF while continuing to make most of the key decisions through a coterie of TPLF leaders and why this balancing act could not outlive him. Ethiopians have welcomed Abiy’s promises to end the Meles regime’s sometimes heavy-handed repression of political rights, but the country is now wrestling with the fragmentary pressures of ethnic politics that Meles managed to contain.