Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has repeatedly stumbled in attempts to establish a stable democratic government. This text tells the story of this failure and seeks to explain the crisis. G. Norman Anderson, a former American ambassador, provides a first-hand of Sudan's third try at democracy. He analyzes the problems plaguing the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, incuding civil war and related famine, religious and ethnic antagonism, political instability, economic deterioration, and the presence of Libyan terrorists. He also analyzes the policies of the United States and Sudan during this period, and cites specific instances in which each helped to undermine Sudanese democracy. The book goes on to address the issue of Sudan's future after the current junta. With many of the leaders who mismanaged democratic government now waiting again in the wings, the question remains whether they have learned the lessons of the past.