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In 1961 Sierra Leone joined the ranks of self-governing nations. Making unique use of local colonial administrative records, Martin Kilson documents the transfer of power from British to African hands, placing special emphasis on the hitherto neglected experience of the average African in relation to modern political institutions and the central significance of this relation to the development of Sierra Leonean society. His study treats every aspect of the modernization process of Sierra Leone and also provides a comparative analysis of political change relevant to a large number of the newly established African states.