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Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya Hardcover – 3 Oct 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press (3 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611856108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611856101
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Kidnapping, rape, humiliation. This was the fate of so many women who were held at the mercy of Colonel Gaddafi. In this shocking book, Annick Cojean gives these women a voice. . . [Gaddafi's Harem] will stay with you for a long time . . . Cojean describes a terrifying system where young women were forced to satisfy the perverse desires of the Guide; under threat of terrible reprisals. . . An exceptional piece of reporting. --Elle (France)



If you think you have discovered all of the quirks in Gaddafi's character, you are mistaken. . . A study taken with great audacity by a senior reporter for Le Monde, and at some personal risk since these crimes are completely taboo in Libya, even today. Astonishing. --Le Figaro



Lifts the veil on the terrible sexual abuses perpetrated by Gaddafi. A fantastic investigation... Page after page, Cojean gives a name, a face, and a voice to the victims of this devastating suffering. --L Express



A moving and disturbing wake-up call to the personal costs of totalitarianism. --Publishers Weekly



This book reveals all the sexual appetites of Gaddafi... his victims, who were enslaved for years, now tell their stories, lifting the veil on a vile and shameful history. --Panorama (Italy)

About the Author

Annick Cojean, foreign correspondent for Le Monde, is one of France's most widely admired journalists. She chairs the committee for the Prix Albert Londres, having won the prize herself in 1996, and has published a number of books.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For many years we heard and saw words and images depicting a country under the control of an erratic dictator, who controlled Libya with a rod of iron, and hatred filled rhetoric, and most of the world seemed to offer little support, comfort or physical assistance to save him and his regime from an internal uprising fueled by Western Allies. I cannot recall much worldwide sorrow when Muammar Gaddafi was dragged from a sewer tube like a frightened rat and crudely executed by his own people.

In her book "Gaddafi's Harem" special correspondent for Le Mode, and one of France's most admired journalists and author, Annick Cojean, reveals her meticulous research into another not as yet generally widely known aspect of this horrific man's evil characteristics namely his extreme sexual appetite fueled by massive a consumption of cocaine and viagra. His perverted actions knew no bounds of decency, or compassion, only excessive cruelty and brutality to scores and scores of young women and girls who were unfortunate enough to be 'ordered' and normally forced by his pimps and procuresses to his bed. Many of the unfortunates were very young girls whom he like the look of on visits to schools and universities, and were later rounded up by his lackeys, and taken to Gaddafi's compound, palace, tent or wherever this despicable dictator was staying.

The book tells the detailed and shocking story of one such girl called Soraya who was ripped from her family having been 'touched' by Gaddafi during a visit to her school when she had just turned 15, and was brutalized, raped, frequently urinated on, and kept a prisoner who was forced to 'surrender' to 'The Guide' as he was known by his sycophants, whenever called and this was frequently.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sue Harding on 10 Nov. 2013
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Very rambling and often repetitive. However a truly awful account of how vile Gaddafi was and what a corrupt human being he was
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A on 23 Jan. 2014
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A book that needs more world awareness.
Leaders of all countries should be questioned on how much they had known and were thereby complicit.
I holidayed in Libya a couple of months before the uprising and was surprised to see that most women in Tripoli only wore the scarf and not the veil.
However discussions with our driver showed complete hypocrisy. He bragged about his wild life in Spain but was not prepared to even let his brothers see his wife without a veil.
Sadly corruption will succeed and, as we see, 'democracy' will only be a path used to reinstate the next pig at the trough.
Is Libya now a free democracy. Soraya, unfortunately, will never get the justice or recognition for her bravery that she deserves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Gray on 17 Nov. 2013
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What a revelation!!! What we all suspected and what those in power always knew. His friends in other governments who turned a blind eye are shameful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian McDonald on 21 Nov. 2013
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Shocking! revealing and ultimately heartbreaking.This young victim takes you with her on her descent into Gadaffi's secret hell,.where she remains today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. V. Lester on 2 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading this book while on holiday and although the content is shocking and disturbing, the writing is not as good as I had anticipated even though it is written by a top French journalist. The book is repetitive in parts but I think that just reflects the fact that all the dictator was interested in was sex, violence and drugs. I recommend this to people interested in the middle east and tales of human suffering. If you liked the 'Princess' trilogy by Jean Sassoon you will enjoy Gaddafi's Harem.
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Here is firm evidence of Gaddafi's debauchery. A young woman's account of her abduction to sexual slavery is strongly supported by other accounts.

The writer, Annick Cojean, had great difficulty in getting people in Libya to talk about their appalling sexual experiences with Gaddafi. Post revolution this was seen as a closed book best ignored, since rape is taboo in Libyan culture.

There are huge disparities in Gaddafi's approach to women. He supported improved educational opportunities, for example. But his desire for power over others (he used the rape of wives to humiliate the men he worked with) clearly overcame other considerations.

Criticism of Gadaffi meant prison or death: people were scared stiff of him. Some were prepared to go along with him to benefit from the huge rewards he offered for compliance.

"That was the morning I really understood I was dealing with a madman" said one of his sexual victims. Maybe that says it all?

Or perhaps not quite: women still have an uphill battle in Libya, but the outlook is less bleak.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CONNETH on 21 Aug. 2014
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Very dark and depressing, but insightful. Gaddafi was a proper drug fueled monster of the most humanly depraved. The complicity encouraged through fear among the population ultimately enabled his omnipotence, in which he indulged in narcissistic sexual pleasures and delusions propped up by viagra, cocaine and whisky.
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