This unique interpretation of Ethiopian society uses the tools of history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology to examine three main questions: What is the nature of the traditional culture of the Amhara, and what are its enduring values and beliefs? What aspects of modern culture interest this society and by means has it sought to institutionalize them? How does tradition both facilitate and impede Ethiopian efforts to modernization? Using the insights and the tools of several disciplines, Professor Donald Levine looks on Amhara culture as history, as an outlook on life, a way of growing up, a social structure, a kind of psychological orientation, and, finally, as a “combination of opposites.” With acuity and sensitivity he describes the strains upon the traditional culture made by the needs for modernization and the problems which face young and old in making this rapid transition. The author has found one key to Ethiopian society in its poetry, where the “wax” is the obvious meaning, the “gold” the hidden meaning. He finds reflections of this ambiguity at all levels of Ethiopian culture and holds that an appreciation of it is essential to understanding the problems facing Ethiopians in their movement toward modernization and their unique role among African nations. Since its first publication, forty years ago, Wax and Gold has became a basic source for the studies of Ethiopia and a provocative model for the study of African and other modernizing nations.