James Smoot Coleman was the leading theorist of his time in African political studies. His work fused liberal-democratic idealism and scientific realism. These essays represent the evolution of his thought from deep insight into African nationalism to a refined theory of modernization. The collection is an indispensable contribution to the intellectual history of comparative African politics, essential to scholars and others who grapple with problems in African development.
James Smoot Coleman was Professor of Political Science and founding director of the African Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Following his death in 1985, the center was renamed in Coleman's honor. Richard L. Sklar is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.