In this volume, a group of prominent scholars explores how these seminal events affect elites and shape regimes. Combining theoretical and case study chapters, the authors draw from a wide range of historical and contemporary examples to challenge mainstream developmental explanations of political change, which emphasize incremental changes and evolutions stretching over generations. Instead, the authors argue here, political leaders and elites possess significant autonomy and latitude for maneuver, especially in times of crisis. Elites' choices are frequently decisive in the making of regimes and the forging of national political histories. Providing a sustained comparative analysis of elites, their circulation, and behavior across times and countries, this lucid volume will be invaluable for scholars and students alike.