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Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook by Edward…
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Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook

by Edward N. Luttwak, Edward Luttwak

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This was a great book for understanding how coup d'etats work, and what goes wrong when they fail. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
The preface of this enjoyable little volume states:

“This is a handbook. It is therefore not concerned with a theoretical analysis of the coup d’état, but rather a formulation of the techniques which can be employed to seize power within a state. It can be compared to a cookery book in the sense that it aims at enabling any layman equipped with enthusiasm – and the right ingredients – to carry out his own coup.”

It is spot-on, just like the rest of this book. Coup d’État describes the conditions, strategy, planning, and execution of overthrowing a government, a once popular pastime in southern Europe, Latin America, and Africa. As the book concentrates on the mechanics, it makes it very clear that no specific ideology is required to execute the process. A state of underdevelopment makes things much easier, as was the lack of a nexus between the native cultures and methods and ideologies the newly independent states inherited from former colonial powers. The apparatus of the state in such countries was stronger than ever under the colonial government. A lack of a dispersed political culture as existed in modern Western countries and a lack of commitment of an often hardly literate population made things easier.

Bureaucracies and particularly the military use of standardised procedures, make a coup feasible with relatively few people if well planned, and proper use is made of speed, opportunism, and control of information flows. The examples in the book are somewhat dated, as is hopefully the concept of coups itself, now that standards of education and communication are rising nearly everywhere.

Still, I would not say I could execute my own coup after reading this book. In the industry where I work, we would hire a consultant for support. ( )
3 vote mercure | Apr 2, 2010 |
Dangerous book ( )
  jphughessr | Nov 22, 2009 |
Superb! I wish there will be a third update edition with more recent case studies. ( )
  dinu | Feb 19, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674175476, Paperback)

The coup is the most frequently attempted method of changing government, and the most successful. Coup d’État outlines the mechanism of the coup and analyzes the conditions—political, military, and social, that gives rise to it. In doing so, the book sheds much light on societies where power does indeed grow out of the barrel of a gun and the role of law is a concept little understood.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:49 -0400)

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