Libya: The Elusive Revolution

'By God I am confused'. exclaimed Colonel Gadafi at one Libyan popular conference. Where Libya is concerned, who isn't?

Ruth First's main emphasis falls on the causes and consequences of the 1969 revolution, in which a group of young off icers ousted the monarchy. This thorough survey provides a wealth of information about the religious, economic and social springs of Libyan politics, the sudden explosion of oil revenues and the fanatical- often na•ive- pursuit of Arab unity. She introduces the reader to a twentieth-century social revolution based on the Koran ; to an oil-rich state determined not to copy Kuwait; to a new centre of pan-Arabism which has almost invited the hostility of other Arab states;and to a regime which
exhorts the people to embrace its historic role but suffocates all independent action.

Nevertheless this nation of under two million inhabitants has struck giant postures in recent years. Its strengths and weaknesses become clearer in the light of Ruth First's able study.

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