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Libya 101: Read Up on Nation’s History, Politics

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Capitol Hill staffers seeking to learn more about Libya and its ruler, Moammar Gadhafi, should check out some of these recommended books on the nation’s political history.

Martinez’s “insights are amazing” in this explanation of the complicated relationship between the United States and Libya since Gadhafi first took power in 1969. “It’s a solid description of what conditions were like during the sanctions,” Wehrey said. “He gets into the culture and talks to the young people of Libya.” In the years following 9/11, Libya has tried to present a friendly face to the Western world, cutting ties to terrorists and giving up its weapons of mass destruction programs. The paradox, Martinez argues, is that Libya’s future lies in becoming an “authoritarian liberal state.”

Libya: From Colony to Independence,” by Ronald Bruce St. John, 2008

This book is accessible to casual readers and students of history alike. St. John covers Libyan history from the earliest evidence of nomadic tribes well into the later years of Gadhafi’s regime and presents it all in a coherent and readable narrative. St. John is a “solid” historian, Wehrey said. 

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