This study replaces the Area Handbook for Ethiopa, which was completed in 1970 -- four years, before the forty-four-year reign of Emperor Haile Selassie was ended by the imposition of provisional military rule, sparked by growing discontent among large elements of the people. The radical changes introduced by 1980 had been justified by the new government as necessary ingredients of a Marxist-Leninist revolution aimed at transforming the country from its long-term status as one of the world's most underdeveloped.
Ethiopia: A Country Study examines the changes, progress, and problems that have occurred in the first six years since the revolutionary government's assumption of power. Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant social, economic, political, and national security forces at work and to give readers insight into the goals and values of the people. Sources of information used in the study's preparation include scholarly works, official reports of governmental and international organizations, journals, and newspapers. Despite the comprehensive sifting and analysis by the authors of large quantities of primary and secondary source materials, a number of gaps in information necessarily remain on certain subjects. Revision of the political, economic, and social institutions of the country continued throughout the period of research, and often the data available on these alterations were uneven, contradictory and, hence, of questionable reliability. This was particularly true of statistical material.
Available books, articles, and other documents that provide important amplification of subjects treated in this book are noted in the bibliographic paragraph at the end of each chapter. Full references to these and other valuable sources used by the authors in the preparation of this work are included in the Bibliography.
The available materials on Ethiopia frequently presented problems in terms of the different transliterations of place and personal names used by scholars and other writers. No standardized and universally accepted system has been developed for the transliteration of Amharic (the most widely used literary language of the country), and even official publications of the Ethiopian government vary in their English spellings of proper names. Insofar as possible the authors of Ethiopia: A Country Study have attempted to reduce this confusion by adhering generally to the system known as BGN/PCGN, one agreed to by the United States Board on Geographic Names and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use. The major difficulty, however, stemmed from the fact that the United States Board on Geographic Names was in the process of revising and updating its official gazetteer during the course of the study, and the new . . .