A spate of coups in West Africa last year led to worries that military takeovers were back in fashion after years of generally more peaceful regime transitions across the continent. This timely collection of essays discusses the current state of civilian-military relations in Africa and adopts a broader perspective by examining more than just military interventions in politics. Instead, the volume examines two variables that shape the sociopolitical role of the military: first, the degree of “social embeddedness” of the military, that is, the nature of the networks linking the military to broader society; second, what the authors refer to as “regime proximity,” or the social relations between the government and armed forces. The authors suggest a widening gulf in Africa between countries in which a professional military has maintained its independence from individual governments and focused on its security responsibilities, and those in which militaries have been politicized and cannot avoid taking sides in partisan politics. Still, looking at the recent military coups, the authors resist the conclusion that military professionalization leads to a greater unwillingness to intervene. They point out that professionalization can also produce a lower tolerance for government corruption and authoritarian tendencies, leading to coups.