Governments around the World
From Democracies to Theocracies
by Fred M. Shelley, Editor
May 2015, 522pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3812-5
$121, £94, 106€, A166
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3813-2
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Governance is always evolving—in some cases gradually, in other cases abruptly.

Providing a valuable resource for secondary school and college students as well as the general public investigating the process of governance in different countries, this book provides a comprehensive comparative summary of how governments are constituted and operated worldwide.

Political systems around the world can be a confusing subject. Why does England have both a monarchy and a prime minister? How does a federal republic differ from a federation and a republic? How is China a communist state without a dictator? And how is the United Nations managed? Governments around the World: From Democracies to Theocracies examines the major types of governments around the world, providing accessible descriptive country examples of each variation that allow readers to understand how governments operate and shape societies and cultures.

An excellent resource for high school and college students as well as general readers, this compact one-volume reference work covers forms of government that include democracies, republics, communist states, monarchies, transitional governments, and theocracies as well as transnational organizations. Each chapter begins with an overview of that particular government type, identifying the general philosophies, practices, and ruling structures in addition to making comparisons of several key countries that follow that government type. Additionally, the content includes constitutional excerpts that clarify how human rights are conceptualized and articulated throughout the world.


  • Provides readers with information about different and contrasting systems of governance used throughout the world
  • Highlights the intrinsic links between governance and human rights
  • Describes the purposes, charters, and operation of a broad range of international organizations
  • Includes primary sources such as excerpts from constitutions and charters that are interpreted in the text
Fred M. Shelley is professor of geography and environmental sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Nation Shapes: The Story behind the World's Borders and The World's Population: An Encyclopedia of Critical Issues, Crises, and Ever-Growing Countries. He is also the author of numerous other books and journal articles on geography and the world economy, political and economic geography, geography of elections, and related topics.


"A helpful reference for anyone needing information on individual countries and governments."—Library Journal, September 1, 2015

"This work is well suited for survey or introductory courses at the undergraduate level. For a single-volume work, it is an excellent reference on the topic."—Booklist, November 24, 2015
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