CIVICUS admits to the civil society hype of the 1990s, and in this book, grounds us with an empirical assessment of the sector's actual strengths and weaknesses. The Civil Society Index, shown in operation here in 45 countries, is a very valuable tool for all those who want to establish the reality of what the nebulous term civil society really means. At a time when scholars of civil society are unable to agree on a common set of parameters for the measurement of this increasingly complex terrain, CIVICUS s Civil Society Index offers a far more diverse, and therefore compelling, assessment tool. By allowing civil society agents themselves to define and develop indicators in a country-specific, contextual, but fundamentally comparable manner, the CSI symbolizes the sort of democratic and bottom-up methodology that other transnational assessment processes would do well to emulate. I strongly recommend this volume to all those interested in the role, challenges and potential of civil society worldwide. This book presents, in one volume, a fascinating tour of the state of civil society in nations around the globe.