"The story of Libya over the last half-century is about as extraordinary as it gets. Following a coup by the 27-year-old Muammar Qaddafi and his fellow junior officers in 1969, what had been a failing monarchical state was transformed into the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah. For many years Qaddafi pursued an independent and capricious political course, alienating fellow Arab regimes and Western governments alike by ill-judged interventions and sponsoring terrorist acts, while Libyans suffered from his bizarre political and economic policies, as well as high levels of corruption and repression. After Libya's rehabilitation into the international community in 2003, when the increasingly eccentric Qaddafi announced that he was abandoning the country's weapons of mass destruction programmes, the quixotic Colonel focused his attentions on cultivating friendly relations with Europe and the US, while oil companies rushed back into the country. It seemed as though Qaddafi had bought himself a new lease of life. But everything changed in spring 2011, when the Arab revolts swept across the region. A series of peaceful protests in Libya were put down with brutal force; before long rebellion had swept across eastern Libya, and from the moment NATO forces entered the fray on the side of the rebels Qaddafi's days were numbered. In this riveting and deeply researched account, Alison Pargeter asks how Qaddafi managed to remain in power so long, and why his luck finally ran out. Just as importantly, she analyses the legacy he has left for his successors: what are their chances of turning a country riven with misgovernment and division into a functioning state?"--Book jacket.