This book on conflicts in Northern Ghana, relying on long-term first-hand research stays, points towards the importance of local wars for the formation of alliances and consciousness that inform and mould the character of the whole post-colonial state. It is about war in specific conditions of today's Africa, where war seems to be a normal means for achieving political goals. Civil wars multiplied soon after the colonial powers left the scene, when important deposits of mineral wealth were discovered or eth no-religious composition was preventing equitable development. Another category of armed conflicts are those in which two or more groups within a state compete for hegemony on a particular territory. These conflicts are not really civil wars but conflicts which are not intended to upset the post-colonial state. However they indicate that people involved in them cherish values that might look esoteric to the outsiders. Among these values tower the differences in cultural or socio-political structure but also the quest for recognition of `traditional' institutions.