A text on how nations coalesce, or don't, which plots out sources of fragmentation -- language differences, regionally dispersed resources, parochial loyalties, and so forth. Writing as though on cotton wool, Rosenbaum also stresses deficient procedures for ""conflict management,"" along with measures of ""allegiance, apathy and alienation."" Northern Ireland is morbidly cited as a paradigm of tormented nationhood. A case study of Zaire, formerly the Belgian Congo, reeks of unwarranted innocence; Zaire, it seems, ""had no experience in the rituals of democracy,"" and Rosenbaum remains far too delicate to probe the covert operations by the Belgians, the CIA, and the United Nations which in fact shaped its ""nationhood."" A case study of Italy underlines North-South divisions, rural-industrial gaps, and other counterweights to democratic bloom. Rosenbaum's global prognosis: ""authoritarian or totalitarian systems are more likely to dominate among the world's political cultures."" While this study is most useful for understanding disintegrative elements and a boon to those who would exploit every divisive element in a country -- its essential dullness should encourage pro-democratic opponents of those who stir up ""conflicts"" the better to ""manage"" them.