Sandstorm is the best kind of reportage: humane, historically-informed and full of details that only a writer close to the action could have noticed. The overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi has been one of the twenty-first century’s defining moments: the Arab world’s most bizarre dictator brought down by his own people with the aid of NATO aircraft. Lindsey Hilsum was in Libya when Gaddafi met his squalid end. She traces the history of his strange regime from its beginnings - when Gaddafi had looks, charisma and popular appeal - to its paranoid, corrupt final state. At the heart of her book, however, is a brilliant narrative of Libyan people overcoming fear and disillusionment and finding the strength to rebel. Hilsum follows five of them through months of terror and tragedy. This is the Libyan revolution as it was made and lived. Sandstorm will take its place in a library of classic books about turning points of history.
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