When Things Fell Apart

State Failure in Late-Century Africa

by Robert H. Bates

Series: Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

In the later decades of the twentieth century, Africa plunged into political chaos. States failed, governments became predators, and citizens took up arms. In When Things Fell Apart, Robert H. Bates advances an exploration of state failure in Africa. In so doing, he not only plumbs the depths of the continent's late-century tragedy, but also the logic of political order and the foundations of the state. This book covers a wide range of territory by drawing on materials from Rwanda, Sudan, Liberia, and Congo. A must-read for scholars and policy makers concerned with political conflict and state failure.

In The Press

'Bates' book rightly reminds us that political order is problematic … The book also contains a strong argument for the central role of the state for economic development.' Africa Spectrum