Revolution, civil wars, and guerilla warfare wracked Ethiopia during three turbulent decades at the end of the twentieth century. This book is a pioneering study of the military history and political significance of this crucial Horn of Africa region during that period. Drawing on new archival materials and interviews, Gebru Tareke illuminates the conflicts, comparing them to the Russian and Iranian revolutions in terms of regional impact. Writing in vigorous and accessible prose, Tareke brings to life the leading personalities in the domestic political struggles, strategies of the warring parties, international actors, and key battles. He demonstrates how the brutal dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam lacked imagination in responding to crises and alienated the peasantry by destroying human and material resources. And he describes the delicate balance of persuasion and force with which northern insurgents mobilized the peasantry and triumphed. The book sheds invaluable light not only on modern Ethiopia but also on post-colonial state formation and insurrectionary politics worldwide.