Scholarship on the West African kingdom of Asante is at the leading edge of Africanist research. In this book, T.C. McCaskie gives a detailed and richly nuanced historical portrait of precolonial Asante. His delineation of state and society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is centred on an extended analysis of the crucial ritual of the annual Kumase odwira festival. It is at once a profound historical reconstruction of an African polity, and a deeply informed meditation on key Asante concepts and ideas. Throughout the book, the Asante experience is consistencly discussed in a relation to a broad range of historiography and critical theory.