Since the third edition was published in 1970, considerable changes have taken place within the Caribbean. The leaders who took the British islands into independence in the 60s have all departed the scene: there have been experiments in democratic socialism in Jamaica; a co-operative republic society in Guyana and a Marxist government in Grenada; and most of the smaller islands have followed the larger ones into independence. Efforts at regional co-operation have continued despite considerable strains and the U.S.A. has become more closely involved with the area. The problems of the wider world, such as the oil and debt crises, have all had their effects upon the countries in the area. The fourth edition deals with all these themes, bringing the history up to the mid-1980s so that it continues as the leading authoritative history of the West Indies.