Recent turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East disproves the idea that dictatorships are acceptable to the people of these nations. Ayittey takes a hard look at the fight against dictatorships around the world, from Eastern Europe in the 20th century to the present turmoil in the Middle East. He describes the historic circumstances that led to the rise of brutal dictators and explains how, despite the best intentions and billions of dollars in aid, Western governments have been complicit in helping dictators consolidate power. Popular uprisings can best bring about democracy, but democratic movements can inadvertently pave the way for more dictators. By harnessing the power of democratic institutions and grassroots efforts, Africans can bring stability and security to the continent.