Charles Taylor and Liberia

Ambition and Atrocity in Africa's Lone Star State

Colin M. Waugh


This book looks at the efforts of the West and the international community to bring to justice one of those whom it deems to be most to blame for the turmoil.
Campaigner, insurgent, fugitive, rebel commander, commodity kingpin, elected president, exile and finally prisoner, Charles Taylor sought to lead his country to change but instead ignited a conflict which destroyed Liberia in over a decade of violence, greed and personal ambition.

Taylor's takeover threw much of the neigbouring region into turmoil, until he was finally brought to face justice in The Hague for his role in Sierra Leone's civil war. In this remarkable and eye-opening book, Colin Waugh draws on a variety of sources, testimonies and original interviews - including with Taylor himself - to recount the story of what really happened during these turbulent years.

In doing so, he examines both the life of Charles Taylor, as well as the often self-interested efforts of the international community to first save Liberia from disaster, then, having failed to do so, to bring to justice the man it deems most to blame for its disintegration.

Author Bio

Colin Waugh has lived in over twenty countries in Africa over the past two decades, and has served on the advisory board of Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies and as director of Lombard Street Associates in London.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction 
  • Part I: The Land of the Freed 
    • 1. Foundations of a Settlement
    • 2. The Spirit of Liberia
    • 3. Confronting the Old Order 
  • Part II: From Dictatorship to Anarchy 
    • 4. Sergeant-in-Charge: Samuel Doe's Presidency
    • 5. Doe's Decline, Taylor's Travels 
    • 6. Charles Taylor's War 
    • 7. The Pantomime of Peace 
  • Part III: Power in Greater Liberia 
    • 8. Greater Liberia: Prospering and Assimilating 
    • 9. Sierra Leone: Liberia's Sister Revolution 
    • 10. Election Victory and the Taylor Presidency 
  • Part IV: Fallout from a Revolution
    • 11. A Government Embattled
    • 12. Relations with the United States
    • 13. Liberian Legacy
    • 14. Justice a la Carte Bibliography


'Bold in its design as it is discerning/piercing in its content, this study dissects Charles Taylor ruthless and bloody quest for power and wealth.'
Mamadou Diouf, Professor of West African History & Director of the Institute of African Studies, Columbia University

'Colin Waugh's book reads like a thriller.'
Ambassador Francis Tsegah, Diplomat and Senior Research Fellow, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development

'A book destined to become essential reading for anyone who want to understand the tragedy that was Liberia. A truly fascinating read.'
Linda Melvern, investigative journalist, author of A People Betrayed and Conspiracy to Murder

'For anyone interested in understanding the inertia of civil strife, the challenge of national reconciliation and justice, and the vagaries of the international judicial system, this is essential reading.'
Canadian Journal of African Studies

'Should be essential reading for anyone interested in Liberia and more generally in the unusual role of personality in shaping big events.'
African Affairs


Publication Date: 13 October 2011
384 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848138476
Hardback: 9781848138483
eBook ePub: 9781848138506
eBook PDF: 9781848138490
eBook Kindle: 9781780324173

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