This book not only throws light on important developments in world history, but it also makes a significant contribution to the theoretical understanding of international relations. As such, it represents an important contribution to the IR literature. In contrast to the euro-centric approach of the classical English School, John Anthony Pella, Jr. provides a fascinating account of the evolution of international society in West-Central Africa. A 'must' read for all those interested in English School theory and particularly those focusing on the evolution of international society, as well as the study of the society of states at the regional level. Yannis A. Stivachtis, Department of Poltical Science, Virginia Tech. Chair, English School Section, ISA.
Africa is all too often treated merely as a victim -- of European colonialism, or of its own conflicts, epidemics, famines and corruption. What John Pella shows in this book is that African societies are agents -- agents who created their own international system and who actively have continued to interact with the rest of the world. This is to take Africa seriously. This is also far more sophisticated scholarship. Erik Ringmar, professor of political science, Lund University, Sweden.