For nearly three decades, policymakers and students have been concerned with Third World societies in transition. Conventional interpretations of political change, formalized in studies of political development, have dominated approaches to analyzing such changes. Yet, argues the author, these interpretations have been justly criticized as bankrupt and irrelevant to Third World realities. Why are they reproduced? How can one explain the belief that these approaches remain viable? These are some of the questions addressed in this wideranging review of the literature of political development and the paradigms that have guided analysis of political change over the past thirty years. Examining how political development theories are rooted in U.S. foreign policy, domestic political trends, and changes in postwar political science, Dr. Gendzier grounds the traditional approach to political development in recent history and politics. Her analysis raises questions about how development doctrine is related to foreign policy, as well as noting development theory's debt to cold war ideology and revisionist theories of liberal democracy. Dr. Gendzier's interpretation sheds light on the reasons for the current theoretical bias that favors approaching politics in terms of psychology and culture—an approach that, she states, has had devastating effects on our understanding of politics.