The Libyan leader's 'short stories' are atrocious, but he can spew invective with the best of them
If it feels as though Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been around a long time, that's because he has. Born in 1942, Gaddafi led the coup against the Libyan monarchy in 1969 – the same year Sesame Street debuted on US television. He's as old as ineffably boring Sir Paul McCartney, his regime as venerable as Big Bird. And, like many dictators, he fancies himself as a writer.
Gaddafi's most famous literary work is The Green Book, published in 1975. This treatise on "Islamic socialism" defined the concept ofJamahiriya, a state without parties that would be governed directly by its people. Which, in practice, translates as a military dictatorship, headed by – you guessed it – Gaddafi! His subsequent volume, Escape to Hell, is less well known. Marketed in the UK as a single collection of short stories and essays, it is in fact an amalgamation of two books: Escape to Hell (1993) and Illegal Publications (1995). Of course, while it's safe to say that all works of dictator literature are to some extent fictional, few tyrants have tackled the art of Chekhov and Maupassant. I was quite excited to see how the colonel fared.
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