Historical Dictionary of Modern Coups d’État: Vols. 1 & 2

Rowman & Littlefield. Dec. 2022. 1,506p. ISBN 9781538120675. $500. REF
In 1,400+ cross-referenced entries, Chin (politics and strategy, Carnegie-Mellon), Joseph Wright (political science, Penn State), and David B. Carter (political science, Washington Univ.) provide an extensive account of 582 coup attempts in 108 countries in the post–World War II era. They write masterfully about events, perpetrators, reasons for the rebellions, and ways to deter them. There’s a nine-page guide to acronyms and abbreviations, a 32-page chronology, a 19-page introduction, and a map on the geographic distribution of coup attempts since 1946. All are exceptional, especially the introduction, in which the authors define and identify types of coups, describe the gauges of success, and outline trends. Entries include rich descriptions of events, participants, and outcomes, including “near-misses.” The authors note that they have not attempted to report on every plot, assassination, or form of political turmoil. Regarding individual countries, the book details how coup attempts relate to the stability or turnover of regimes and leaders. The book also focuses on individual roles in leading or being overthrown. This work demonstrates the world’s volatility, with regime change the norm for many.
VERDICT An excellent, sobering accounting of seven decades of government instability and conflict. For readers interested in international relations, politics, and global issues.
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