Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution

Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution

by Lindsey Hilsum
     
 

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Over a quarter century, the renowned British international correspondent Lindsey Hilsum has covered crisis and conflict around the world. In February 2011, at the first stirrings of revolt, she went to Libya, and began to chronicle the personal stories of people living through a time of unprecedented danger and opportunity. She reported the progress of the revolution… See more details below

Overview

Over a quarter century, the renowned British international correspondent Lindsey Hilsum has covered crisis and conflict around the world. In February 2011, at the first stirrings of revolt, she went to Libya, and began to chronicle the personal stories of people living through a time of unprecedented danger and opportunity. She reported the progress of the revolution on the ground, from the conflict of the early months, through the toppling of Gaddafi’s regime and his savage death in the desert. In Sandstorm, she tells the full story of the events of the revolution within a rich context of Libya’s history of colonialism, monarchy and dictatorship, and explores what the future of Libya holds.

Sandstorm follows the stories of six individuals, taking us inside Gaddafi’s Libya as events unfold, change accelerates, and those who had never before dared to speak, tell their stories for the first time. We see the dynamics of the insurrection both from inside the regime and through the eyes of the men and women who found themselves starting a revolution. Woven into her account is a revelatory exposé of the dysfunctional Gaddafi family, the scale of whose excesses almost surpasses belief. She tells the stories of Libyans who lived in the United States or Europe, but went home to risk everything to provide secret intelligence, or commit daring acts of civil disobedience, to bring the regime down, knowing that the punishment if caught would be torture and death.

The fall of Gaddafi, who was for forty-two years the great autocrat-madman on the world stage, is among the past decade’s most dramatic pivot points. In Lindsey Hilsum, it has found its definitive chronicler.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Journalist Hilsum, international editor for Britain’s Channel 4 News, draws on her reporting from the front lines of Libya’s 2011 revolution for this dramatic account. Inspired by Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans took to the streets in February 2011 to challenge strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s “forty-two years of brutal and capricious rule.” Over the next eight months of “revolutionary conflict,” the author made four trips to Libya to cover the turmoil. Embedded with the rebels, she reports the conflict almost exclusively from their vantage point. However, she is careful not to romanticize them or the revolution itself. Hilsum’s portrait of Gaddafi’s four decades of misrule and support for “militant and terror groups” is devastating, but the opposition is far from pristine. She reports that the rebels’ early “war effort was a shambles” and was only reversed with foreign military intervention. She uncovers evidence of “revenge killing” and random violence among the victorious rebel factions, and warns that the Islamists are in a position to dominate the June 2012 elections for a new constituent assembly. Hilsum concludes with a warning that contrary to Western hopes for a democratic outcome, the “new Libya was a blank canvas.” Though it’s too soon for a definitive account of the Libyan revolution, Hilsum’s early assessment is a timely first draft. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (June)
Financial Times
Hilsum's Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution is a passionate but measured account of why the battle for Libya happened, how it played out and what may be yet to come. By hanging the distressing but often inspiring stories of a group of Libyans around the central figure of the colonel, she gives a rounded and readable snapshot of extraordinary change in a closed country that few international journalists could claim to have known well before last year's events.
From the Publisher
"Sandstorm is a passionate but measured account of why the battle for Libya happened, how it played out and what may be yet to come. By hanging the distressing but often inspiring stories of a group of Libyans around the central figure of the colonel, she gives a rounded and readable snapshot of extraordinary change in a closed country that few international journalists could claim to have known well before last year's events."-Financial Times

"A nearly incredible, fantastical tale of the rise and fall of the ‘mad dog' of Libya…demonstrates not only the criminal megalomania of Gaddafi and his pernicious network of nepotism but also the venality and hypocrisy of the West that kept him in power until the bitter end. A fitting, clear-eyed send-off to an infamous dictator." -Kirkus

"As well-paced and exciting as it is authoritative, Sandstorm is an epic account of the revolution that swept Muammar Gaddafi from power. Written by one of the finest war correspondents of our time, this is a must-read first draft of history." -Jon Lee Anderson

"Lindsey Hilsum's powerful book is both a history of one of the world's most bizarre regimes and an unforgettable account of Gaddafi's rapid decline and fall. If only all revolutions had such intelligent and observant witnesses. Her prose is all the more effective for being restrained. She is also clear-eyed about the challenges facing Libyans after forty years of relentless repression by a corrupt family dictatorship. Essential reading." -Misha Glenny, author of McMafia and The Balkans

"No reporter was better placed than Lindsey Hilsum to tell the story of Libya's revolution, and she has not failed. She gives us both a compelling account of the rise and fall of one of Africa's most grotesque despots and a portrait of how ordinary citizens set about the task of toppling a regime. This is a kaleidoscopic, humane chronicle of how political convulsion is lived by real people…Hilsum's writing is as lucid, nuanced and intelligent as her pieces to camera, and the pages fly through one's hands." -Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

Kirkus Reviews
A nearly incredible, fantastical tale of the rise and fall of the "mad dog" of Libya. By turns friend and foe of the West, champion and tormentor of his own people, over four decades, Muammar Gaddafi had plenty of help inside and out propagating one of the most arbitrarily brutal, oppressive regimes in the world. British journalist Hilsum followed the events of the Arab Spring closely for Britain's Channel 4 News and others, and her work combines an on-the-ground eyewitness account and a nuanced history of how he managed to stay in power for so long. The locus of incendiary resentment that sparked the Libyan uprising centered on the notorious prison Abu Salim, where, on June 28, 1996, 1,270 prisoners were gunned down. Their bodies were never delivered to relatives, and their deaths were only acknowledged a decade later. With the spread of Arab discontent in February 2011, the Abu Salim families had had enough and took to the streets. Having seized power in a coup in 1969, Gaddafi gleaned the finer points of authoritarianism from his hero Gamal Nasser, the East German Stasi and the Chinese. Gaddafi embarked on a cultural revolution and so-called Green Terror to purge rivals, banned the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat to his authority, organized public hangings and essentially abolished the private sector. Hilsum diligently works through Gaddafi's grandiose schemes and jumbled reign, during which he was the target of numerous assassination attempts. With great clarity, the author demonstrates not only the criminal megalomania of Gaddafi and his pernicious network of nepotism, but also the venality and hypocrisy of the West that kept him in power until the bitter end. A fitting, clear-eyed send-off to an infamous dictator.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101583593
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/31/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
7 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Jon Lee Anderson
As well-paced and exciting as it is authoritative, Sandstorm is an epic account of the revolution that swept Muammar Gaddafi from power. Written by one of the finest war correspondents of our time, this is a must-read first draft of history.
From the Publisher
“No reporter was better placed than Lindsey Hilsum to tell the story of Libya’s revolution, and she has not failed. She gives us both a compelling account of the rise and fall of one of Africa’s most grotesque despots and a portrait of how ordinary citizens set about the task of toppling a regime. This is a kaleidoscopic, humane chronicle of how political convulsion is lived by real people…Hilsum’s writing is as lucid, nuanced and intelligent as her pieces to camera, and the pages fly through one’s hands.” —Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz
Michela Wrong
No reporter was better placed than Lindsey Hilsum to tell the story of Libya's revolution, and she has not failed. She gives us both a compelling account of the rise and fall of one of Africa's most grotesque despots and a portrait of how ordinary citizens set about the task of toppling a regime. This is a kaleidoscopic, humane chronicle of how political convulsion is lived by real people, from the Seattle computer geek who turned military spy to the dentist from Bath who picked up a Kalashnikov. Hilsum's writing is as lucid, nuanced and intelligent as her pieces to camera, and the pages fly through one's hands. (Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo)
Misha Glenny
Lindsey Hilsum's powerful book is both a history of one of the world's most bizarre regimes and an unforgettable account of Gaddafi's rapid decline and fall. If only all revolutions had such intelligent and observant witnesses. Her prose is all the more effective for being restrained. She is also clear-eyed about the challenges facing Libyans after forty years of relentless repression by a corrupt family dictatorship. Essential reading. (Misha Glenny, author of McMafia and The Balkans)

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