The change in name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso has mirrored equally important changes in the country's lifestyle. Yet despite numerous military and civilian governments since 1960, Burkina Faso still faces many of the same challenges it confronted decades ago: malnutrition, drought, lack of natural resources, debt, and the difficulties of industrial development in a region that is often unstable. At the same time, the people of Burkina Faso prove to be hard working and resourceful, and have persevered through many harsh conditions, and continue to improve the standard of living in their nation. The Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso is the second edition of Daniel McFarland's Historical Dictionary of Upper Volta from 1978. As with the earlier edition, this volume provides information on important persons, places and events, political parties, government organizations, economy, and culture. Most importantly, new entries update information on occurrences in the twenty years that have intervened between the two volumes, providing perspectives on recent social, international, political, and cultural issues.
The book also includes a detailed chronology of the history of Upper Volta/Burkina Faso, from precolonial times to the current changes in governmental structure and Burkina Faso's relationship to other countries in the region, many in similar situations. The bibliography in the current edition contains 1300 entries, more than one-third in English, versus the 600 entries found in the 1978 edition, and increases the number of English language sources considerably. With such a substantial revision, scholars and librarians will find the Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso a major addition to their collection. The expansion in resources and materials of interest, as well as the chronological and governmental updates, make this new edition an unavoidable part of any complete collection.
Daniel Miles McFarland (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is a specialist in the Volta River region of Africa and has been teaching on Africa since 1958. He has authored many reviews and articles, and produced the first edition, the Historical Dictionary of Upper Volta, with Scarecrow Press in 1978. Lawrence Rupley (Ph.D., University of Illinois) has studied and taught in Africa for many years, including Nigeria and Kenya. He has been widely published with particular emphasis on the economy and fiscal policies of African nations.