Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Governments around the World: From Democracies to Theocracies

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Governments around the World: From Democracies to Theocracies

Article excerpt

Governments Around the World: From Democracies to Theocracies. Edited by Fred M. Shelley. Santa Barbara, CA ABC-CLIO, 2015. 522 pages. acid free $100 (ISBN 98-14408-3812). Ebook available (978-1-4408-3813-2).

The brief single-volume Governments Around the World: From Democracies to Theocracies is edited by Fred M. Shelley, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Oklahoma. The task of meaningfully representing international governments in a volume of more than five hundred pages is a difficult one, but Shelley delivers an excellent work that uses illustrative examples of countries to guide the reader to an understanding of types of governments without exhaustively providing all examples. Shelley has authored several other related reference works including The World's Population: An Encyclopedia of Critical Issues, Crises, and Ever-Growing Countries (ABC-CLIO, 2014) and Nation Shapes: the Stories Behind the World's Borders (ABC-CLIO, 2013).

Each chapter of the volume is dedicated to a type of government such as Democracies and Republics, Communist States, and Theocracies. There is a brief introduction to each chapter that provides an overview of the form of government and types of government within the forms. Each two- to three-page introduction includes a few key references and the content serves as a fine primer to better understand the countries contained within the sections. The specific country sections, which at fiften to twenty pages per country, compose most of the work, provide both breadth and depth about the countries, including sections on contemporary issues, economic and social data such as education rates, information on political parties, excerpts of key political documents such as Constitutions, maps, and other social and political information. In addition to the twenty-five country profiles, there is a chapter on Transnational Organizations, which covers six major organizations such as The African Union and The Arab League. …

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