Review: Coup d'Etat

Coup d'tat: A practical handbook by Edward Luttwak. ISBN: 0-674-17547-6

When you hear about the enduring works in political science, this book always makes the list. This is an incredible piece of scholarship on what makes a coup possible and sustainable, from the political and social conditions necessary to take power, to the weak points in the military and defense forces, to the tactics of keeping the palace occupied.

But from the standpoint of someone who aspires to none of this, it's a fantastic look into the mechanics of government, and how it is manipulates and it manipulates. It happens that I was reading the appendix on "The Economics of Repression", about the relationships between propaganda and police funding versus how much revenue a government can take from its subjects in taxes about the same time that President Clinton announced a new program to spend a billion dollars on anti-drug programs. Scary stuff.

A good perspective, and highly recommended.

Monday, August 31st, 1998