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Exit the Colonel: The Hidden History of the Libyan Revolution Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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"Of all the accounts written so far about Libya's revolution, none can match Chorin's sophisticated and penetrating analysis of the country and of its former quixotic ruler. An insider's account, Exit the Colonel details the events leading up to the revolution, and reveals the larger context within which Libya's uprising eventually took shape. Relying on an unmatched variety of sources and on extensive in-country experience, Chorin's book will undoubtedly remain the best analytical work on Libya and its revolution for a very long time."
Retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, author of The Politics of Truth
Ethan Chorin brings a unique perspective to his riveting tale of the rise and fall of Muammar Gaddafi: Exit the Colonel. Having served as a diplomat in Tripoli at the time of Gaddafi rapprochement with the West, Chorin tells the story of how the West wound up allied to the mad dog of the Middle East’ and facilitated Gaddafi's rehabilitation, which was key to his fall. This is an exquisite and scary story of greed, intrigue, and political corruption at the highest levels of several nations, including the US and the UK. For anybody interested in international relations, or for anybody whose paths, like mine, crossed Gaddafi's several times, this is a must-read."
The NationalWhat caused such radical policy changes in the region? This is the intriguing question the Middle East scholar Ethan Chorin tackles in his detail-rich book Exit the Colonel.”
Libya Index A concise analysis of past, present and future effects of Gaddafi’s regime.”
Shepherd Express (Milwaukee)Chorin offers a plausible portrait of the capricious, violent ruler who improved the lives of his people before veering on an unstable course of brutal repression, insane economics and global provocation.”
Boston GlobeThe best recent book, I think, to go beyond the cult of personality to the traumatized but brave Libyans themselves He met many countrymen, learned much, and all this adds grit and gravitas to his later Exit the Colonel.’ I felt especially enlightened, for instance, by his coverage of the country’s east-west split.”
Journal of North African StudiesOrganised chronologically, Chorin combines diplomatic memoir, political history and shrewd analysis to offer what is arguably the most detailed account to date of the regime’s final years Chorin’s account is highly informative, his observations are sensible, and his diplomatic experiences are fascinating. ..This book sheds unveils the workings of the regime during its final years, and reveals its internal tensions and power struggles (particularly among his sons), reforms and brutalities, and western sycophancy in equal measure. Even for Libya specialists, it is highly informative and provides what is thus far the definitive account of the West’s reconciliation with and re-alienation from the regime and provides immediate context to its downfall.”
Exit the Colonel: The Hidden History of the Libyan Revolution is a timely, if rushed, affair For me, it is Gadhafi’s erstwhile rehabilitation that is the most intriguing part of the book.”
This book demonstrates how Gaddafi was soon to reap the whirlwind, as his feints toward reform actually engendered a revolutionary movement that proved all too real and powerful to be put down. Ethan Chorin provides a look into the near and long-term roots of the Libyan uprising and explains why the revolution happened as it did before exploring the longer-term consequences for Libya and the West.”
International AffairsThe information taken from personal interviews with key Libyan and non-Libyan players occasionally provides new insight and fresh perspective to policies and events in this period Chorin provides the most authoritative and detailed analysis of the February 17 Revolution published to date.”
Sugar Street ReviewChorin had plenty of first-hand insights into the workings of the previous regime, and gives a highly readable and accurate account of what lead Libyans to rise up in February 2011. Crucially, Chorin is also an aficionado of Libyan literature, and he illustrates his account with excerpts from the country’s finest writers.”
The Middle East Journal
Chorin presents a detailed, readable, and informed blow-by-blow account of the events of 2011. He elegantly frames the narrative with morsels of Libyan fiction which confer an epic, fable-like quality to the events of the revolution. Furthermore, Chorin expertly peppers the text with an insider's anecdotes about Libya's key personalities. Both literary devises give the reader a taste of Libyan culture and an appreciation for developments on the ground. He utilizes interviews with high ranking officials to dissect both how the Qadhafiregime attempted to combat the uprisings and how the rebel movement evolved over time... a valuable contribution to the emerging scholarship.”
Middle East Policy Council
"Exit the Colonel provides an excellent account, not just of the historical evolution of Qadhafi's long dictatorship, but also of Libya's future political prospects. .. this book is the best insider's account of the revolution so far published in English."
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Ethan Chorin explained why. Western journalists had always been rather thin on the ground in Libya during the Gaddafi regime, and therefore, modern histories of Libya are a very new literary phenomenon-literally since the fall of Gaddafi. Chorin's book, which came out in late October of 2012, and covers material he gathered as late as that summer, gives some of the most up-to-date information that readers can find in book form.
There are other books out there that will give you a more comprehensive history of Libya-that is not his intent. Chorin does give some history-essentially what you need to know to understand how Gaddafi was able to maneuver himself into power from a cultural standpoint. He does an excellent job explaining the duality of Libya as a country, the divisiveness that those of the eastern half and those of the western half have always felt towards one another, and the powerful effect that this has in her politics (not to mention her soccer matches-we are not talking friendly rivalries here!Read more ›
The author of the book, Ethan Chorin, is a rare American who learned Arabic so thoroughly that he translated Libyan short stories into English in his previous book, TRANSLATING LIBYA. For EXIT THE COLONEL he spoke with numerous Libyans on the changes in their country. His experience in Libya, too, informs parts of this book. His personal story is mostly in the Introduction, but Chapter 4, "The Americans Return," is a vivid tour of Libya under Gaddafi in 2004-2006, when Chorin was there. The country is revealed to be, at that time, a totalitarian state, complete with touches of absurdity (as in a parade featuring live ostriches and cardboard models of refrigerators) and with impressions of tedium mixed with the grotesque as Gaddafi harangued an audience for hours.
EXIT THE COLONEL is largely the story of Gaddafi's downfall ending his 42-year rule of Libya. It's an epic story set on an international stage, but references to Sadiq Neihoum's "The Sultan's Flotilla" help to clarify Gaddafi's character as an anxiety-ridden narcissist behind his public image as a brutal dictator. As a history of U.S.-Libya relations starting in the 18th century, the book also reveals U.S. mistakes well before the 2011 revolution, and the worst of these occurred in the seven years preceding the revolution. A parallel to that seven-year period is presented in "The Sultan's Flotilla," which was written three decades before the revolution. The author, Sadiq Neihoum, was well acquainted with Gaddafi.Read more ›
Alan J. Kuperman -- U.S. Institute of Peace / University of Texas at Austin
John Darrell Sherwood, Ph.D.
Author of Black Sailor, White Navy
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the most insightful accounts of the Libyan revolution, placing it in the context of Qadhafi's last decade in power and his rapprochement with the West. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mietek Boduszynski
The book provides a helpful overview of the political situation in Libya in the lead up to the revolution. Read morePublished on June 14, 2014 by wavpagrl
If you want a clear and honest account of how and why the USA got involved in the Libyan civil war, you won't find it in this book. Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by Joel Hammer
fascinating analysis of the final years of Qaddafi's rule and of the launch of the revolt against him. Read morePublished on October 31, 2013 by Ann Lesch
...book in terms of both information and empathy. A similar account would be welcome for every country in the Middle East where more significant resistance to dictatorship happened... Read morePublished on September 29, 2013 by Prof Chibli Mallat
I've read a few books on Libya and the Arab Spring and this is by far the best. Lots of times these types of books can be dry but Ethan's book is an engaging read and thoroughly... Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by Joey Daoud
Anyone interested in the country and wants to make sense of events there should read this book. For me it's the best account of contemporary Libyan political history and... Read morePublished on April 19, 2013 by Sam hope