Burkina Faso, known as Upper Volta until its independence from France in 1960, and locally called the “land of the upright people,” is a medium-sized land-locked country with no less than six neighbors, some of which periodically get into trouble… which makes it reasonably strategic in some ways. While it has not done as poorly as some other African states, its economic has certainly not prospered and many Burkinabe go abroad to earn a living. As for politics, it is another case of stability without democracy, even if there are periodic elections. Still, this is better than not even having stability.
This third edition of Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso covers its history through a chronology, an introductory essay, maps, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 1000 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Burkina Faso.
Lawrence Rupley —
Lawrence Rupley is a professor of economics and a former editor and administrator. He worked in Burkina Faso in the latter 1980s and still follows events there closely, being one of the major American specialists on that country. He was also the author of the second edition of the Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso.
Lamissa Bangali —
Lamissa Bangali is a consultant and researcher in socio-cultural anthropology in Burkina Faso. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and has taught at the National School for Administration and Courts in Burkina Faso. He has also worked for the World Health Organization and has done consultancy for the European Commission and the African Development Bank.
Boureima Diamitani —
Boureima Diamitani, also a Burkinabe, is the former Director of Cultural Heritage and Museums of Burkina Faso and has been Executive Director of the West African Museums Programme since 2001. He received his Ph.D. in art history from the University of Iowa, has been a fellow of the National Museum of African Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank.
Rupley, Lawrence. Historical dictionary of Burkina Faso, by Lawrence Rupley, Lamissa Bangali, and Boureima Diamitani. 3rd ed. Scarecrow, 2013. 317p bibl afp; ISBN 9780810867703; ISBN 9780810880108 e-book. Reviewed in 2013aug CHOICE.
This third edition sees the addition of two editors from Burkina Faso--Bangali (anthropology consultant/researcher) and Diamitani (West African Museums Program). As a result, the book benefits from more extensive use of material from archives, government agencies, and other sources of local information. This edition contains an updated and expanded chronology, introduction, bibliography, and appendix. The latter lists cities and towns, populations, ethnic groups, and the ministers of government administrations since 1978. The number of entries has expanded significantly, and some previously published entries have been edited as well. By and large, the 1,000-plus entries are well written and informative. However, every now and again some are so concise they barely offer readers the most basic information. For example, based on the sparse entries provided, readers would be hard-pressed to understand the history or even the raison d'être of the handful of Muslim brotherhoods in Burkina Faso. As with other works from this series, this dictionary is useful because information on former French West African colonies can be difficult to find in English. From this standpoint, the dictionary and its counterparts on former French colonies are important sources for undergraduate libraries with basic Africana collections.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. -- B. D. Singleton, California State University--San Bernardino