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Dirk Vandewalle is one of only a handful of scholars who have made frequent visits to Libya over the last four decades. His formidable knowledge of the region is encapsulated in his history of Libya which was first published in 2006. The history – based on original research and interviews with Libya’s political elite – traces Libya’s history back to the 1900s with a portrait of Libya’s desert terrain, its peoples and the personalities that shaped it development. It then examines the harrowing years of the Italian occupation in the early twentieth century, through the Sanusi monarchy and, thereafter, to the revolution of 1969 and the accession of Qadhafi. The following chapters analyse the economics and politics of Qadhafi’s revolution, offering insights into the man and his ideology as reflected in his Green Book. In the wake of the civil war and Qadhafi’s demise, the time is ripe for an updated edition of the history which will cover the years from 2005 to the present. These were the years when Libya finally came in from the cold after years of political and economic isolation. The agreement to give up the weapons of mass destruction program paved the way for improved relations with the west. By this time, though, Qadhafi had lost the support of his people and, despite attempts to liberalize the economy, real structural reform proved impossible. This, as Vandewalle contends in the foreword to the new edition, coupled with tribal rivalries, regional divisions and a general lack of unity, paved the way for revolution and civil war. In an epilogue, the author reflects upon Qadhafi’s premiership, the Green Book’s stateless society and the legacy that he will leave behind.Read more
- An updated edition of Vandewalle's classic history which now takes in the crucial years from 2003 to the revolution in 2011
- Vandewalle writes of a failed state beset by regional and tribal rivalries and with no institutional basis
- Epilogue reflects on Qadhafi's stateless society and the legacy he will leave behind
Reviews & endorsements
'Much more than a political, chronological or narrative review in 200 pages, this work effectively delivers a sympathetic, nevertheless critical, thorough and authoritative analysis … Highly recommended.' ChoiceSee more reviews
'Vandewalle, an associate professor of government at Dartmouth, is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable students of Libya, and his A History of Modern Libya does not disappoint.' Middle East Quarterly
'There has clearly been no lack of studies on Libya and its leader over the years. The book under review, however, has the advantage of placing developments after 1969 in perspective relative to the country's early history: it shows how Qadhafi's apparent dramatic and idiosyncratic political ideas can be seen as a logical conclusion of Libya's earlier weakness or failure as a state. Emphasizing economic structures and policies, the book places these into a political, ideological, and structural context that makes it an excellent and up-to-date analytical introduction to the history of this country, which has had an impact so much larger than its size.' International Journal of Middle East Studies
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- Edition: 2nd Edition
- Date Published: March 2012
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107615748
- length: 344 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.4kg
- contains: 8 b/w illus. 3 maps
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. 'A tract which is wholly sand …'
2. Italy's fourth shore and decolonization
3. The Sanusi monarchy as accidental state, 1951–69
4. A Libyan sandstorm: from monarchy to republic, 1969–73
5. The Green Book's stateless society, 1973–86
6. The limits of revolution, 1986–2003
7. From reconciliation to civil war, 2003–11
Epilogue: farewell to the revolution?
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Foreign Military Intervention
- Politics of the Developing World
- Statebuilding in the 21st Century
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