For a century, Madagascar has encountered a succession of obstacles in its struggle towards political autonomy, prosperity, and international prominence. Although favoured with natural resources and relative cultural homogeneity, the "great island" of the Western Indian ocean - the fourth largest in the world - has yet to achieve a coherent national identity or international distinction. In this introduction, Dr Allen offers a study of the island's physical features and its complex ethnographic history. In separate chapters on politics, economics and society, he analyzes the factors bearing on the development of Malagasy nationalism, the difficulties of a fundamentally rural society undergoing urbanization and feeling the stresses of economic development, and the quandaries of a revolutionary government confronted with domestic and international challenges. Dr. Allen concludes with an interpretation of the interlocking systems that are shaping Madagascar's future.
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