Since 1990, more than 10 milliion people have been killed in the civil wars of failed states, and hundreds of millions more have been deprived of fundamental rights. The threat of terrorism has only heightened the problem posed by failed states. When States Fail is the first book to examine how and why states decay and what, if anything, can be done to prevent them from collapsing. It defines and categorizes strong, weak, failing, and collapsed nation-states according to political, social, and economic criteria. And it offers a comprehensive recipe for their reconstruction. The book comprises fourteen essays on the theory and taxonomy of state failure; nature and correlates of failure; methods of preventing state failure and reconstructing those that do; economic jump-starting; legal refurbishing; elections; demobilizing ex-combatants; civil society building.