In This Review

Libyan Politics: Tribe And Revolution
Libyan Politics: Tribe And Revolution
By John Davis
University of California Press, 1988, 297 pp

This is not the usual survey of a country's political life and institutions. The author is a social anthropologist who lived in Libya, on and off, from 1975 through 1979. His vantage point was a region inhabited by the Zuwaya tribe in Cyrenaica, his material the results of careful observation at the level of family, kinship group and tribe. Incidentally, Qaddafi's "Green Book" and his system of direct democracy were not as crazy as they seemed to most Westerners, for the Libyans were not a nation, had no affinity for Western-type political institutions, and had strong "stateless" traditions. Davis has no illusions about Qaddafi or his politics, but he explains a great deal about Libya.