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Randy Hobler has written the best memoir of a Peace Corps experience that I have ever read. His amazingly detailed book instantly grips the reader by putting Libya in its properly rich and unique historical perspective. Everyone should read this book, to enjoy its humor as well as its insights.  Bravo to Randy Hobler for all the hard work and writing talent that has resulted in this unparalleled but eminently readable chronicle of a time and place lost forever.”


            —Niels Marquardt

          Former Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Madagascar and the Union of            the Comoros

                 Peace Corps Volunteer—Zaire and Rwanda

“I have read dozens of Peace Corps memoirs and always find the impact of service on the individual writer to be profound. However, this memoir contains not just the memories and observations of one volunteer but of one hundred. It is therefore that much more authoritative.”


            —Robert E. Gribbin, III

            Ambassador to Rwanda and Central African Republic

            Peace Corps Volunteer—Kenya



“Reading the book, I found myself laughing more times than I could count. Bravo for telling this story in a way that is accessible and entertaining!”


            —Cameron Hume

            Ambassador to South Africa, Indonesia and Algeria

            Peace Corps Volunteer—Libya


“A magnum opus!” I must remark that the level of detail in terms of time, places and people is remarkable. This book does remind one how living in utter simplicity has beauty and how uncluttered time leads to clarity.”


            —Nicholas Craw

            Peace Corps Director, 1973—1974


“At its best, the story telling was fun and engagingly told with a fond memory that lacked rancor about the struggles of drinking water with colored worms and finding scorpions in their shoes.  Telling the story nearly 50 years later gives this memoir the feel of a saga.”


            —Paul Sully

            Country Director, Peace Corps Jamaica


“As the first American ambassador posted to Libya in 36 years, I found this epic tome by Randy Hobler to be a veritable and precious treasure trove of Libyan history, politics and culture, of the individual experiences of Peace Corps volunteers and an exciting piece of storytelling that rivals any academic enterprise. It is a book full of joy, tears and knowledge that could only be found in Hobler’s telling. Thank you, Randy for this amazing journey.”

            —Gene Cretz

            Ambassador to Libya and Ghana


“Hobler kept a detailed diary while including the accounts of more than 100 fellow volunteers. This group approach enables him to cover every aspect of the Peace Corps experience, whether  the exotic food they pretended to enjoy, the old motorbikes forever dying on them in the middle of the desert, or Hobler’s own challenges of maintaining a budding long-distance relationship. These vivid memories, via Hobler’s novelistic eye, take you into the thick of this extraordinary adventure.”


            —Tom Seligson

            Author of six books, two of which sold to Hollywood,

            and an 11-year CBS documentary producer


“Randolph Hobler’s account of Ghaddafi’s rise to power and the impact on ordinary Libyans is fascinating.  His updates, addressing Libya’s current descent into disorder, heartbreaking.  As in Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Hobler introduces us to an ‘international sand club’ of interesting personalities living fully in a unique place and time.”

             —Edmund Hull

            Ambassador to Yemen

            Peace Corps Volunteer—Tunisia


“A bittersweet wonder. The book is ‘about’ the author's Peace Corps epoch in Libya but is, of course, ultimately about youth, the passage of time—and about love. This colorfully detailed account of Hobler’s life during a period of extraordinary change—his own and that of his adoptive country—is an edifying, emotionally nourishing journey. His naturally sympathetic depiction of a place and people most Americans reflexively regard as savage and violent is bridge-building. A completely immersive read!”


            —Jeff Wing

                Columnist, The Santa Barbara Sentinel

                Content/Feature Writer, Procore Technologies

                Resident, Libya 1968--1970


“Having served as US Ambassador to Libya from 2013-2015 following the attack on our mission in Benghazi that took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, I was intrigued by the penetration of these young, idealistic Americans into the cities, towns and villages across the vastness that is Libya, their resourcefulness, and most of all their engagement with a broad spectrum of Libyans. The photographs are an added treat. I wish this book had been available prior to my own engagement.”


          —Deborah Jones

          Ambassador to Libya

          Peace Corps Volunteer—Afghanistan


"Randolph Hobler has produced a fascinating study of the unique experience of Peace Corps Volunteers in Libya before and during Muammar Qadhafi's 1969 coup d'état. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer myself, I can attest that he deals humorously and accurately with the fumbling efforts of the early Peace Corps to select effective volunteer candidates and then to cope with the chaos which often accompanied their deployment in a land which then had little experience of Americans.”


            —Dane Smith

            Ambassador to Guinea and Senegal

            Peace Corps Volunteer—Ethiopia

“Hobler writes in a conversational style that makes the book a pleasure to read. There are a few maps and many, many pictures. Many stories are humorous, though there are sad, tragic, shocking and downright scary ones as well. If you enjoy reading about coincidences and anecdotes that venture well beyond the scope of a purely historical account, this book is definitely for you. And if you relish knowing trivia about Libya that will impress your friends, again, this is a book you must read!”


--Dean Jefferson

Peace Corps Worldwide online

“I can’t imagine what it must have taken to accumulate this information from so many fifty years after the fact. The author’s narrative anchors impressively embroidered anecdotes throughout the book. Instead of a more typical individual view of the experience, this collection provides many rich hues and shades of experience with hilarious, heartbreaking, insightful and poignant, inspiring results. The 220 photos, maps and graphics add to the mosaic.

The book is full of pearls of wisdom. As one former U.S. ambassador states, the book is ‘…a veritable and precious treasure trove of Libyan history, politics and culture, of the individual experiences of Peace Corps volunteers and an exciting piece of storytelling that rivals any academic enterprise.’ ”

              --Mark Walker

              Peace Corps Worldwide online

Libyan Culture
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