Ethan Chorin - Exit the Colonel book image

Exit the Colonel: The Hidden History of the Libyan Revolution

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 1610391713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391719

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In Exit the Colonel, Ethan Chorin goes well beyond recent reporting on the Arab Spring to link the Libyan uprising to a flawed reform process, egregious human rights abuses, regional disparities, and inconsistent stories spun by Libya and the West to justify the Gaddafi regime’s “rehabilitation.” Exit the Colonel is based upon extensive interviews with senior US, EU, and Libyan officials, and with rebels and loyalists; a deep reading of local and international media; and significant on-the-ground experience pre- and post-revolution.

The book provides rare and often startling glimpses into the strategies and machinations that brought Gaddafi in from the cold, while encouraging ordinary Libyans to “break the barrier of fear.” Chorin assesses the possibilities and perils for Libya going forward, politically and economically.


“Of all the accounts written so far about Libya’s revolution, none can match Chorin’s sophisticated and penetrating analysis of the country and of its former quixotic ruler. An insider’s account, Exit the Colonel details the events leading up to the revolution, and reveals the larger context within which Libya’s uprising eventually took shape. Relying on an unmatched variety of sources and on extensive in-country experience, Chorin’s book will undoubtedly remain the best analytical work on Libya and its revolution for a very long time.”

– Dirk Vandewalle, Professor of Government at Dartmouth College
and author of A History of Modern Libya


Translating Libya
The Modern Libyan Short Story

  • E-book:247 pages
  • Publisher: Ethan Chorin
  • Publication Date: July 2, 2014
  • ISBN-10: 0863566472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863566479

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Part anthology and part travelogue, Translating Libya presents the country through the eyes of sixteen Libyan short story writers and one American diplomat. Intrigued by the apparent absence of ‘place’ in modern Libyan short fiction, Ethan Chorin resolved to track down and translate stories that specifically mention cities and landmarks in Libya. The stories trace the influence of the ancient Romans, the later Italian occupation and the current influx of foreign workers from Africa and further afield.

he authors open a window on today’s Libya – a rapidly urbanizing country with rich oil reserves, recently renewed diplomatic relations with the West and a nascent tourist industry based on its well-preserved ancient cities. This is a unique introduction to a country that has for some time been ‘off the beaten path’.


“Translating Libya: The Modern Libyan Short Story” defies being pigeon-holed within a particular genre. At its heart are 16 Libyan short stories newly translated by Chorin (in three cases jointly with Basem Tulti). But the book is at the same time a delightful mixture of travelogue, scholarly study, and a record of personal encounters.

— Susanna Tarbush, Qantara