Since the publication of the Area Handbook for Chad in 1972, Chadian society has experienced almost uninterrupted turmoil. The government in power in 1972, which was dominated by southern ethnic groups, fell to a military coup d'état in 1975. By 1978 an insurgent group, composed mostly of northerners, had displaced the military regime, and in 1982 a different rebel organization came to power. These years also saw the coming and going of foreign troops, most notably those of France and Libya. Adding to these politicomilitary machinations was a several-year-long drought that produced famine and a flow of refugees and rendered the economy dependent on the generosity of France and the international donor community.
Although Chad: A Country Study contains some material from the 1972 edition, it is basically a new book. Like its predecessor, this volume is an attempt to treat in a concise and objective manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Chadian society. Sources of information included scholarly journals and monographs, official reports of governments and international organizations, foreign and domestic newspapers, and numerous periodicals. The authors have emphasized the use of foreign-language sources to a greater extent than in the past. Nevertheless, as a result of the warfare during the 1980s, up-to-date information on social and economic issues was scarce; little fieldwork had been done, and few government reports had been published.
To the extent possible, place-names follow the system adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names; often these vary from conventional French usage. Because there is no standard to guide the spelling of proper names, the most common journalistic usages have been followed.
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